WongDoody Scores Game Business

By Angela Dawson

LOS ANGELES–Virgin Interactive has tapped WongDoody in Seattle for several projects, including an upcoming campaign for a hockey game title slated to launch this fall.

The shop’s newest assignment is to create a national print and TV campaign for NHL Powerplay ’98, a National Hockey League-licensed game designed for use on Sony PlayStations and CD-ROM systems. The ads will break in September at the start of the NHL season. Television ad spending alone is expected to exceed $1 million, sources said.

The campaign will try to set Powerplay apart from other products in the crowded sports game category and position it as the best choice for serious hockey fans, according to agency executives.

‘The challenge is for us to come up with creative (work) that grabs people by the eyeballs and demands their attention,’ said Tracy Wong, WongDoody chairman and creative director. ‘The video game category is crowded with good work. We think that we have some different approaches that will help us set Virgin apart and really build its brand.’

WongDoody has won print assignments for other Virgin Interactive products previously handled by Southern California shops. El Segundo-based Team One Advertising had the client’s account two years ago and Ground Zero in Santa Monica handled the account the year before.

The first ad crafted by WongDoody for Virgin Interactive’s Nanotek Warrior game is running in video game enthusiast publications this month. Campaigns for Rally Championship, a racing game; Golden Nugget, a casino gambling game; and SubSpace, an Internet-based space station; are slated to run this summer.

The agency bills about $20 million annually, with such clients as Fox Sports, Fox Television and FX Cable Network.

Virgin Interactive, an Irvine, Calif.-based publisher and developer of computer and video games, is a subsidiary of Spelling Entertainment Group.

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