JWT Finds Its Game

Blockbuster backs an expansion of its videogame division with a campaign from J. Walter Thompson that targets an older group of players.

The Dallas company breaks four TV spots, tagged “Rent. Buy. Game your way,” July 1 on MTV, ESPN2, Nickelodeon and other cable networks. JWT, Chicago, also created radio ads and print work, which runs in July issues of game magazines.

“This is their biggest effort yet behind games,” said Jeff York, JWT’s group creative director.

Blockbuster plans to make a “significant increase” in spending behind the games, said client vp of marketing Scott Parks, who declined to offer specifics. Blockbuster’s total media outlay last year was $120 million, according to CMR, much of it spent on the video-rental side.

In May, Blockbuster expanded its games section, introduced new game-rental initiatives and in creased its game inventory. It also created a Games Freedom Pass that allows members to rent an unlimited number in one month.

The initiatives address the growing popularity of video games among adults, York said. The campaign targets 20-25-year-old players, both men and women.

Each spot contains two vignettes with a subtheme of “How to be a better gamer,” followed by advice for playing well, such as “Stay focused” and “Never press pause.”

Previous JWT work for Blockbuster’s videogames was tagged, “Are you game enough?” The spots featured an overzealous character named Chet, who trained younger boys how to play.