Monday, December 14, 2009

Editorial: Why No Negative Ad Campaigns Between Consoles?

There is a lot of talk about advertising in the games industry about ads and how to advertise. The reason I bring this up is because AdweekMedia has named Apple's "Get A Mac" ads the ad campaign of the decade. These ads revolve around a very negative campaign slandering the PC market as a whole saying that no matter how much the Windows operating system improves, it is still complicated to use and is slow with many potential viruses that can make its condition worse. So, what does this have to do with the video game industry? The video games industry does not do enough negative ad campaigns. I am not saying they should start but its just interesting how Sony is not specifically saying that the Wii is underpowered and that an Xbox Live subscription and Wi-Fi costs extra on Xbox 360.

While Sony is saying it has everything the other consoles do not have right out of the box, they are not targeting a specific console. In fact, there has only been one negative ad campaign between consoles. Those ads were from Sega about their Genesis console. Sega claimed that "Genesis does what Nintendon't." The ads made the NES (Nintendo Entertainment System) feel like an aged console. Genesis at the time had double the power of the NES. It made Nintendo's system look like something for children while Genesis was a system with games that satisfy mature gamers. They were able to prove their point years later when Mortal Kombat for Genesis showed blood while the version on SNES (Super Nintendo Entertainment System) had "sweat" instead.

Sega really put a dent in Nintendo's sales with their negative ad campaign. It targeted its competitor head on and made Nintendo gamers a stereotype. Sega implied that Genesis was for cool people and that helped them in the long run of Genesis's lifecycle. We have not seen any such ad campaigns since. Game software will never be negative because like the film industry, the ads are meant to say what is great about the product and not compare it to other products in the market, claiming its superior. Like all movies, all games are different.

Next year, Sony and Microsoft will introduce their own forms of motion controls to compete with the Wii and get casual players to buy their systems. Both the PlayStation Motion Controller and Project Natal are superior to Wii's motion controls even with the MotionPlus attachment. If Sony and Microsoft do not target the Wii saying that it is a worse experience than what they are offering, I do not know how these new peripherals will fly off the shelf. Of course, in order to make such claims, they must have the software to back it up. I think that just showing people having fun with the compatible games will spark interest, but will overall not put a dent in the sales of Wii consoles.

It is playing dirty to slander the competitor but if you look at Apple's ads, you will realize how effective negative ad campaigns can be in the market. It is very rare for a video game hardware company to directly slander another competitor. This may be Microsoft and Sony's keys to victory with tech specs alone proving their motion controller methods are a better experience. We wil have to wait and see what happens in a battle which so far has no slander or hate.

I would like to hear your comments and opinions about my first editorial. If you would like to share your opinion with me about this topic or suggest a new topic for my next editorial, please shoot me an email at adam@gamerscastpodcast.com.





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