Acclaim Entertainment's marketing campaigns

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Advertising an upcoming game on gravestones to make people buy your game? No thanks!

Crappy game developer and publisher Acclaim Entertainment, in its last years, made some pretty stupid decisions to promote their games. Some succeeded, while others utterly failed. According to former Acclaim PR man Andrew Bloch, the reasoning behind this was

"You had games that, being blunt, weren’t particularly good. They weren’t getting amazing reviews. So the thinking from a PR perspective was 'how can we not rely too much on the reviews, and get outside of the gaming pages and create attention?'"

What They Did

  • Turok: Evolution: For the release of Turok: Evolution, Acclaim offered $13,000 for someone who named their newborn baby "Turok" in the United States. In the United Kingdom though, Acclaim offered £1,000 and a new Xbox console for someone who legally changed their name to "Turok".
  • Shadow Man: 2econd Coming: Acclaim wanted to advertise this game on tombstones and graves. While they did get actual volunteers, it turned out that legally such an advertisement would be treated as if it was a billboard and require planning permission, so the whole project was quietly shelved.
  • Gladiator: Sword of Vengeance: Acclaim planned to put ads of this violent game at bus stops that would periodically "bleed".
  • Virtua Tennis 2: Acclaim came up with an insane plan involving training pigeons to fly to Wimbledon and painting the Virtua Tennis logo on their wings, so they could disrupt the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in the UK. The stunt never actually got beyond showing the press the pigeons being trained, though by some accounts the organisers were worried enough to invest in several trained hawks to kill any advertising birds attempting to disrupt the proceedings.
  • Burnout 2: Point of Impact: Acclaim would pay anyone's speeding ticket on the day Burnout 2 was released in the UK. The offer was retracted shortly before release.
  • BMX XXX: The entire game. Enough said.

Reception

These campaigns made Acclaim like blood, all of the games sold poorly, and still remains one of the reasons why Acclaim ended up filing for bankruptcy in 2004.

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