So here’s the situation: you’re a marketer with Midway’s advertising department. The job you’ve been tasked with is simple. Midway’s got a new racing game coming out on the Nintendo 64. It’s a port of an extremely popular arcade racing game, and you’ve been given some very simple bullet points to hit in the two-page ad spread you’re going to develop (fifteen different stages, sixteen total cars, etc…). This ad will be published in some of the highest-circulating game magazines of 1998. Tens of thousands of potential buyers, adults and children alike, will see this ad. Midway is spending a fortune buying up this print space, and they’re relying on you to turn Cruis’n World into the runaway best-seller it deserves to be. They’ve given you half a dozen screenshots to feature, Nintendo’s logo needs to be visible on the page along with the ESRB rating, and you know it’s an N64 exclusive. Otherwise the sky’s the limit in terms of your artistic vision. You have complete creative control. You’re “in the driver’s seat”, if you will. What do you do?
Some advice if I may: put down your drink before you hit the jump.
So here’s the situation. You’re now an unemployed marketer, formerly with Midway’s advertising department. The job you were tasked with was a simple one…and you choked. Your brain made the jump from “cars go zoom-zoom around track” to “comically-enormous wiener”. Did no one along the way think to check on your work? You’re not even doing the ‘sex in advertising’ thing right. Guys want to think a fast car automatically leads to a massive wang, not that it turns one into a processed meat product comprised of seasoned pig anus and cow lips. And what mother do you suppose is going to look at that and think, “That’s the racing game I want for my kids!”? Geezus, marketer, you had one job…
Bear in mind, advertising in a game magazine in the 90’s was not cheap. Ad space is traditionally sold for a fixed dollar amount per thousand issues printed; depending on the publication and their circulation numbers this could fluctuate which makes it difficult to pin down real figures. But we do know GamePro’s circulation numbers were big enough in 1998 that they could charge plenty for ad space. It’s impossible to know exactly what Midway paid to put this Cruis’n World ad in front of the millions of readers GamePro boasted having, but $20,000 per page isn’t an outlandish estimate according to our sources. So two questions. First, do you think they go their forty-grand’s worth on this one? And second, can we all agree to leave the “turning people into hot dogs” fantasy in Oscar Mayer’s capable hands?
That concludes this installment of Wacky Wednesday, where we provide the info and you provide the facepalms.