As it prepares for rival Sony Computer Entertainment of America's PlayStation 2 release, Sega will fill a typically quiet time for the gaming industry--the second quarter--with a $15 million campaign to support two new titles.
Sega, Redwood City, Calif., will break new TV spots in May via Foote, Cone & Belding, San Francisco, for Seaman and Space Channel 5. It will also support a large campaign breaking in late August for its online services by again sponsoring the MTV Music Awards, the forum it used last year to launch its Dreamcast gaming console.
Seaman is a voice-response game, bundled with a microphone, in which users direct an onscreen fish character to compete in a survival game. Sega will give Seaman "heavy TV support," said Peter Moore, Sega's svp, marketing. In keeping with an overall strategy, the company will go beyond cable TV to more mainstream placement. The company will also target nongaming publications to attract casual gamers.
"We're not trying to convert people who don't game," Moore said.
Space Channel 5 features a new iconic character, shapely newscaster Ulala (pronounced "ooh-la-la"), who could compete with Eidos Interactive's hugely successful Lara Croft character from Tomb Raider.
With Sega's fiscal year ending March 31, Moore said the company plans to boost its ad budget beyond the $100 million it spent launching Dreamcast last year. The bulk of the dollars will go to a "huge splash" in late August for its Dreamcast Network, an online gaming community.