ATLANTA: Unit2, a new division of Winston-Salem, N.C.-based Long Haymes Carr, has attracted its first client in Red Storm Entertainment, a software publisher co-founded by best-selling author Tom Clancy. Sources estimate the client will spend $5 million annually on marketing.
Based in Morrisville, N.C., Red Storm Entertainment designs and markets interactive computer games. Its first game, Tom Clancy's Politika, will be released this month in conjunction with the book of the same name.
As the concept for Unit2 was under development at Long Haymes Carr this summer, the agency targeted Red Storm as the type of progressive-minded client the fledgling division wants to serve, said LHC chairman and chief executive officer Steve Zades. Although Red Storm assigned Unit2 the advertising for Politika, a project with a budget of $1 million-plus, there is no formal agreement between Unit2 and the client.
"We're really young and we're trying to determine exactly what our needs are," said Carson Brice, Red Storm marketing manager. "But we're definitely pleased with the work [Unit2 has] done for us so far." Brice said the company plans to release four to five new games in 1998, and it is "more than likely" Unit2 will be involved with "several if not all" of them.
Unit2 has created a print campaign for Politika that runs in USA Today later this month, as well as ads in computer magazines. The ads play off the premise of the game, which allows participants to be involved in the power struggle among factions in Russia following Boris Yeltsin's death. The tagline is: "Play the game. Pray you win."
Unit2 plans to pursue companies that "want to push the envelope and don't want to be anywhere near the mainstream," Zades said. "[Unit2] is staffed with people who understand the leading-edge marketplace."
The agency spinoff is the brainchild of LHC's Otis Gibson, who serves as creative director for Unit2. Gibson called the division "a late-night inspiration" born of his New York roots and frequent trips to London, where he was exposed to contemporary, alternative marketing.
Other dedicated Unit2 staffers include copywriter Bob Barnwell and vice president and account director Brad Bennett. The three will report to Zades and Jim White, LHC vice chairman and chief creative officer.