Monday, 18 January 2010

How to turn something great into something average, just by talking about it

Mass Effect 2 is out in about a week, which is incredibly exciting for me and for a lot of other gamers around the world. But why are we excited about it? Well because the first installment of the game turned out to be fantastic, and the sequel can ride on the quality of the original. The Dark Knight was a fantastic film, and was completely sold out at every theatre I tried to watch it at on release night, again a good example of the strengths of the original selling the sequel. But sometimes the strength of an original work doesn't seem to be enough, sometimes because there isn't an original product to be followed, or maybe the previous entries weren't well received. Or maybe because there is the potential to make even more money that anyone could possibly imagine. In these situation the go to resource is hype, a word that is thrown around a lot, but not unjustly.

It's nigh on impossible to talk about hype wihout mentioning a game called Modern Warfare 2. No product has received so much hype from its publishers and yet in actuallity has required so little. Being the sequel to one of the most successful first person shooters of all time all that would be required would be a blank screen with the release date, actually that's not too far off what the original teaser was, however greed took hold and the over staturation of marketing began. Activision went promo crazy, there were teaser trailers, trailers announcing the release of full trailers, random celebrities were invited to play the game then tweet about it, every day some news about the game or it's development was leaked to videogame blogs. Taking a gamble activision initiated the big marketing push a good 3 months before the game was due for release, risking people being sick to death of hearing about MW2 by the time the game came out. A quick look around the net shows that that is exactly what happened, but it didn't stunt the sales of the game any.

It's not just games that become victims of their own hype, films are just as likely to fall victim. Final Fantasy (yes I know it's a game movie, clearly gaming has a lot to answer for) received a push like no other, television specials, dedicated magazines, reputable newspapers even got involved in pushing this film. The technology on display was revolutionary and by the time the film came out there wasn't a soul alive who wasn't aware of how important this film was going to be the industry. Then came the release day, and the film turned out to be so overwhelimgly bad that no amount of fancy pants teu could save it, Square was almost forced to close down as a result of the crippling losses, and technology in films was pushed back 8 years.

Good advertising is an important part of making sure your work reaches as many people as possible, and a little hype can work wonders. But taken too far it can damage the reputation of the product, and yourself, beyond repair.

Advertise responsibly kids!

1 comment:

-Drew- said...

I totally agree with this post, the hype surrounding MW2 completely put me off what by all accounts is a good game. However I rather enjoyed the Final Fantasy movies, weird.

Anyway, let me take some time out from the post to talk about BTP4. That's right folks, Beside The Point 4 coming soon! Order your copy soon! Thats Beside The Point 4!


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