Sega of America will launch a $25 million ad campaign next week, the first work from new agency Foote, Cone & Belding.
The work is a radical departure from ads created by Sega's previous agency, Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, which split with the client in May over "creative differences." Gone are the quick-cut images of hyperactive teens loudly playing video games. In their place are vignettes that are meant to be "more approachable" than the "blood-and-guts" mentality of most ads in the category, said Chuck McBride, group creative director on the Sega account at FCB here.
The agency's new tagline, "Hard stuff," replaces the familiar Sega scream at the end of the ads.
"There's so much game footage on the TV set, and, frankly, people are sick of seeing it," said McBride. "We really wanted to do something different with Sega, and take an approach where [viewers are not] sure if they're seeing a gaming commercial or a short story that can stand on its own."
The first of five commercials will air Oct. 6 on MTV. The spots will promote several games, including Sonic R and NBA Action '98. One spot, touting Sega's NHL Hockey '98, features a Zamboni driver blissfully cruising across a deserted ice rink. The driver, who is enraptured by the music on his headset, is jolted into reality when he hits an unknown object. He gets off the vehicle, makes his way to the front and peers around the Zamboni. The viewer sees part of a pair of ice skate-clad feet. The camera pulls back to show a man, wearing in hockey gear, unconscious on the floor. The Zamboni driver taps him and says, "Hey buddy, you OK?"
"We are defiantly proud of the games we produce," said Bernard Stolar, chief operating officer of Sega. "We feel this campaign looks straight into the eyes of the Sega gamer and with [humor] says, 'We're serious about making great games.' "
Sega has been trying to reverse a recent slump in sales.