FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ATLANTA - October 17, 2005 - GameTap, the first-of-its-kind broadband entertainment network from Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. (TBS, Inc.), today unveiled its groundbreaking marketing campaign. Launching 10/17/05, GameTap delivers hundreds of the greatest games-on-demand plus original programming via a broadband-connected PC. The downloadable video game application will be supported by a landmark combination of print, online and TV advertising; a widespread viral campaign; experiential opportunities; public relations and quick bursts of original programming, under the tagline of "Expand Your Playground."
Hardcore vs. "Lite" Gamers: Market Research
Early market research clarified the broad, mainstream appeal of a place where Space Invaders and Pac-Man could co-exist with Splinter Cell and Beyond Good and Evil. Research among the estimated 55 million gamers ith broadband led GameTap to categorize its primary target audience
into two main segments:
- "Thrills" - Approximately 15 million people, Thrills play for the challenge and competition of gaming (the "thrill" of it). Predominantly males (60 percent) between the ages of 18 and 34 years old, Thrills tend to be more experienced gamers and showed the highest interest in subscribing to GameTap. They are predisposed to console gaming but also play PC and online games as well, with most playing some form of video game at least 4-5 times a week.
- "Chills" - Another 15 million of the total broadband gaming population are predominantly women (63 percent) who play less frequently, for the escape and relaxation (to "chill out"). GameTap also had high appeal among this segment, primarily aged 18-49, which mainly plays online, although many Chills are also console, arcade and PC gamers.
"We needed to find the common ground, so GameTap would feel as accessible to mainstream gamers as it was authentic to more dedicated ones," said Dan Riess, GameTap head of marketing.
Developing the GameTap Brand
In early 2004, Turner hired San Francisco-based Lexicon Branding, known for naming products such as the Blackberry, Swiffer, PowerBook and Pentium chip, to develop a list of potential names. GameTap was chosen because it suggested imagery of a virtual "tap" that users could turn on to get access to a never-ending stream of great games. The logo was developed in-house, by Turner Studios, to solidify that image.
The brand's tagline - "Expand Your Playground" - was created by Mullen, a Massachusetts-based advertising agency, to convey a personality for GameTap that was inviting, fun, democratic and ever-expanding; a brand open to everyone, not just the hard-core gamers.
Reaching the Market
Creative and media strategy for GameTap's comprehensive launch campaign was developed by Mullen. It kicks-off with print, broadcast and online advertising designed to trigger emotion from the diverse target groups.
Beginning today, :15- and :30-second "All About the Games" TV spots begin airing nationwide. Each of the spots features a montage of games themed around key gaming absolutes (e.g. power-ups, fighting and dying). For example, "What Are You Fighting For" features fight scenes from dozens of games - from Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness to Beyond Good and Evil to Golden Axe to Streets of Rage.
Music is a continual theme in GameTap's launch, and the music for the TV spots features well-known hits that tie to the gaming themes, and have been updated by new artists, including:
- Pat Benatar's "Hit Me With Your Best Shot," covered by up-and-coming band My American Heart for the "What Are You Fighting For?" spot
- Danko Jones' update of Elvis Costello's "Pump it Up" for the "How Do You Power Up?" spot
- The Bee Gees' "Stayin' Alive," remixed by Thomas Troelsen, producer/DJ for Junior Senior, for the "How Will You Die?" spot
The spots shift midway from the themed game scenes to shots of the GameTap interface. The spots will air on Turner and non-Turner networks including: TBS, TNT, Cartoon Network (initially on Adult Swim only), E!, MTV, VH1, Comedy Central, CNN, HLN, and CNN Airport.
Further, GameTap is the video game category exclusive sponsor of the first-ever MTV Gaming Week this fall. As part of this sponsorship, GameTap will receive 150 tagged tune-ins, billboards and promos across all MTV properties - MTV, MTV 360, MTV2, MTVU and MTV.com - with additional features on MTV Overdrive and MTV Games.
Entertaining, Not Selling
GameTap is taking advantage of its crossover demographic with Cartoon Network's Adult Swim timeslot to jump-start the launch campaign with more than 20 branded entertainment and viral videos. These non-traditional pieces, which began on September 26th, debuted many of the short-form video content franchises which are a key part of GameTap's original programming. For example, "Day in the Extra Life," peeks in on what game "extra lives" talk about while waiting their turn on the sidelines. Topics covered include "winning" ebay auctions, experimenting with teeth whitening-strips, men named "Carol", and confusing coffee-shop terminology.
Humor and entertainment were also behind the development of a purposeful web of curious viral sites and community postings GameTap has launched as part of its viral marketing program. Created by Mullen in partnership with Boston-based Barbarian Group, all are meant to intrigue and entertain gamers and steer visitors toward GameTap "Power Up" rewards. The sites - all seemingly unrelated except that they champion the notion that videogame characters, places and situations are real - began roll-out mid August 2005. In an unprecedented move, GameTap is supporting two of the sites with their own off-beat TV spots airing on Adult Swim. One such spot introduces viewers to the fabricated entity, the Extreme Platform Jumping School, supporting the viral site www.getgoatz.com.
Print and Online Advertising
In print, beginning in November issues, consumers will be exposed to GameTap's "New World of Video Games" crashing onto various scenes (beach, canyon, safari) in the pages of: Blender, Cargo, Entertainment Weekly, FHM, Giant, GQ, Jane, Maxim, Rolling Stone, SPIN, Sports Illustrated, SI on Campus, Stuff, Sync, Computer Gaming World, Electronic Gaming Monthly, Game Informer and GamePro.
Online, beginning October 27, 2005, targeted users visiting Yahoo! will experience GameTap "roadblocks" on top broadband areas. Music again plays a key role in the online advertising, including in one creative execution where a virtual turntable is available for consumers to scratch out a series of energetic beats, each peppered with sounds from popular video games. GameTap is also running rich media placements on a broad range of gaming, portal, lifestyle and music sites, including several that target female gamers and several on AOL. Starting in November, Internet Radio spots (AOL, MSN, Yahoo!, etc.) will drive awareness of GameTap gift certificates available on www.gametap.com. Search engine marketing has been increasing since April 2005.
Beyond Ad Buys - Try It, You'll Like It
"In research, trial increased interest to subscribe dramatically," said Riess. "So we need to offer as many ways to help people experience GameTap as possible." Gamers can get their hands on GameTap through an event marketing program, or a free trial program on www.gametap.com:
Amphitheater and Club Tour - Starting in late October, GameTap lounges will be found in top music clubs in 16 major U.S. cities, and GameTap experiential tunnels were seen at 10 major-market amphitheaters during the month of September.
GameTap was also a sponsor of two key consumer events this early fall: Clear Channel's Download Festival on October 8, 2005 at Shoreline Amphitheater near San Francisco and Ziff-Davis' Digital Life , a three-day consumer event focused on digital technology in New York.
Free Trial - While all subscribers currently receive at least a two-week free trial, GameTap is also giving a limited group of gamers a special deal: one month free and then a special rate of $9.95/month, through the end of the year. Gamers can join the select group by picking up a Special Access card at a GameTap event, encountering GameTap's viral "power-up rewards" online, or participating in other GameTap promotions and events.
Rounding out the marketing efforts, GameTap is being supported by a comprehensive public relations campaign driven by Access Communications in San Francisco. The campaign, which kicked-off in January 2005, runs the gamut from corporate messaging to announcement initiatives to E3 press meetings to launch and holiday.
More About GameTap
GameTap launches today, with over 300 games from 24 publishers, from Pong, Pac-Man and Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell, to Sonic and Worms Blast. New games will be added to the service each week, as well as new exclusive programming content. Consumers can download GameTap at www.gametap.com.
Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. (TBS, Inc.), a Time Warner company, is a major producer of news and entertainment products around the world and the leading provider of programming for the basic cable industry.
Beth Gardiner -or- Misty Skedgell
Access Communications for GameTap TBS, Inc.