UK PR Manager, Xbox & Games for Windows
After leaving his journalist career to go down the PR route, Andy has never looked back. Stints at Lunch PR saw Irving launch some huge IPs from Activision, Capcom and Vivendi, before he moved in-house to look after Microsoft’s first party games line-up. After driving the incredible Halo 3 campaign last year, Andy now heads up the PR for the Xbox Platform, incorporating activity around Live and all associated brand campaigns. He’s helped to drive the appeal of the console to a wider audience, particularly with the Lips and You’re In The Movies product campaigns. Highlights include a reinvigorated music programme featuring an exclusive gig by Pendulum and the recent Xbox Presents: MyGig activity.
Assistant Product Manager
Alison Fraser joined Gamestation in 2002 when there were only 40 stores in the business – and has continued to shine throughout the chain’s rapid growth. As an assistant product manager she is responsible for a number of top-level publisher accounts.
She also has a key role in the management of campaigns which requires working closely with a number of departments – including marketing and operations – to achieve the best campaigns for customers in over 200 Gamestation stores.
Fraser has helped ensure a smooth business transition since GAME’s takeover of Gamestation last year, and she’s very well liked by both teams, by all accounts.
Senior PR Executive
According to the Lunch PR exec who nominated herself as the spokesperson for Chris Warr’s internal fanbase, he is a “fantastic senior PR executive”. And who are we to argue? The games media certainly seems to agree.
In 12 months, Warr has become a very valuable member of the Lunch team, not least due to his key role on successful campaigns like TNA Wrestling from Midway – for which both publisher and Warr’s agency colleagues were left very impressed.
Having truly earnt his spurs, Warr has now been given responsibility for one of the biggest releases in Lunch’s history: Bethesda’s Fallout 3.
Key Account Manager
Hoskin is a key account manager for Mastertronic, and has worked closely with Andy Payne in various guises for 12 years. And he's still only 28. Hoskin started at The Producers in 1996. In 1998 he was appointed account manager, responsible for manufacturing, procurement and distribution. By 2001 he was promoted to senior account manager at The Producers, responsible for accounts such as Redstorm, Eon-Digital and Acclaim.
In 2005 he joined Redback Sales and has since worked with accounts such as 505 Games, Play It, Black Bean and Blast. Redback merged with Mastertronic in early 2007, bringing Andy back into the Mastertronic Group – where he now looks after all European and ROW territory sales.
Mark is the e-marketing executive at Ubisoft, and started his career there two years ago. He has moved incredibly fast through the company, jumping from a sales analyst role into the export department and then onto the digital marketing department.
He helped grow the export department through its best years to date by successfully forecasting and pushing the UAE and South African markets. Its new role in digital marketing enables him to manage Ubi’s CRM databases and its online advertising campaigns. Since he has started in the role, the firm has enjoyed record success with its email mailers and he has helped to ensure Ubisoft tags all mailers and online ad campaigns with retail.
UK Marketing Manager
Turner, 29, is a shining example to anyone starting out in the industry – having gone from a retail Christmas temp to a fully-fledged marketing manager in five short years.
He started work with HMV in 2003 as a Christmas temp, but soon moved to the retailer’s Trocadeo store to help run the games department.
After five months he was asked to jump ship to head office to help out the buying team. A two-month placement grew into Turner becoming release buyer for the next two years.
THQ soon came in for him, granting him a position as IRE trade marketing manager. After a successful spell, he became UK marketing manager for SBK Superbikes publisher Black Bean.
UK PR Manager
Allen has enjoyed a meteoric rise to become UK PR manager at Warner Bros Interactive Entertainment.
She previously worked both on the agency side with Indigo Pearl and publishing with Eidos before starting her current role in April.
Her broad level of experience has allowed Allen to seamlessly integrate into the entertainment giant, setting up the entire UK PR department whilst also masterminding the successful launch of Lego Batman, alongside EMEA marketing and PR director Hester Woodliffe. The title received an incredible amount of both specialist and lifestyle press – including the industry world record for the most front covers for one franchise on one specific magazine: appearing on Ngamer 23 times.
Junior Product Manager
Having worked at Nintendo for just over two years, Cooper has made a strong start to her career, including support for the launch of Wii. She has managed her own successful string of software releases over the past year, including New Super Mario Bros, Zak & Wiki, Family Ski and Endless Ocean.
As a firmly established member of the UK team, she was recently promoted to junior product manager. Her new position brings some great challenges and projects for this Christmas as she will oversee some of the key launches on Wii including Trauma Centre: New Blood and Animal Crossing: Let’s Go To The City; as well as supporting the Wii product manager with re-promotion activity and additional releases for peak season.
National Account Manager
Gross joined Nintendo in July 2007 with responsibility for the important Argos account. He has recently been moved over from Argos to manage other key Nintendo UK accounts with some of the territory’s biggest retailers, including GAME, Play.com and Amazon.co.uk.
Gross has one of the most important jobs in the industry in the lead up to Christmas – keeping the stock of key vendors topped up with Wii and DS units, as well as Nintendo’s plethora of highly-anticipated first-party software.
According to his friends at Nintendo: “He is interested in music, enjoys long walks in the park, and he supports equal rights for southern hemisphere convicts.”
Console and Accessory Buyer
If you read MCV, you know that Asda is becoming an ever-important force in games retail – and has its sights set on non-food domintion.
James Yelland has been a key part of Asda’s astonishing growth in games over the past two years – driving a steady increase in market share across hardware and accessories for the grocer in 2008.
On top of this, Yelland has been instrumental in some of Asda’s most notable promotions, increasing footfall into its stores and enhanching the supermarket’s reputation for second-to-none value amongst consumers.
In addition, Yelland has a built a strong reputation with the publishing community, with sources telling MCV he’s certainly one to watch.
Simon Hope has become a vital member of Aardvark Swift’s team, specialising in the recruitment of artists and game designers – and has left many a UK development studio very happy with their new members of staff.
Hope joined Aarvark Swift fresh from the completion of his law degree (obviously a bright boy), and has rapidly built up a prestigious list of clients including Electronic Arts, Disney, Frontier, Codemasters and Sumo.
According to his superiors, he has ‘developed a good reputation for honesty and integrity in the industry’.
He now works for every major developer and has several exclusive clients.
Wholesale Product Manager
Mason takes full responsibility for Koei products. His mystery nominator from the Japanese publisher called him “creative and pro-active”, adding that he “adds value to our business”.
Koei’s business with Centresoft and the independent sector has grown rapidly over the past 12 months and this is largely down to Mason’s work on profiling the firm’s back catalogue to create incremental sales – and his team’s deep understanding of the publisher’s core franchises.
His nominator added: “I know he is highly rated as leader by his sales team who also do a great job. I really don’t think is better sales person out there at the moment. We’d be lost without him.”
High praise indeed.
Brand Manager, Guitar Hero
‘Mr Guitar Hero’, Gary Sims has helped push the franchise to unprecendented levels of success in Europe – with projected year-on-year growth of over 400 per cent.
Through the recognition that the market trend towards social gaming could be a key success factor for the franchise, Sims helped formulate a marketing strategy that included broader media buys, educational advertorials and partnerships with Nintendo on the launch of Guitar Hero On Tour.
He also made sure that this marketing execution carried through to stores – making Guitar Hero unmissable this year whether you are watching TV, in the car, or even on the beach, through his ‘Guitar Hero On Tour Mobile Moped Busking’ sampling.
Consumer PR Manager
Since joining Sega’s UK team from Trilogy PR in August 2007, Burgin’s work with the consumer press has consistently yielded great results. Working closely with top London PR agencies Lunch and Mischief, Burgin has worked hard to ensure that Sega’s profile within the consumer media matches the scale of the company’s portfolio.
Kicking off with massive hit Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games, Burgin has a flair for developing outstanding PR campaigns. Burgin’s charm, mixed with her ability to pull off an effortlessly cool Bonnie Tyler impression at karaoke, has made her a keen favourite with journos. She loves cats and shaking maracas, and has clearly come a long way since her childhood in Leighton Buzzard.
UK Product Marketing Manager, THQ
Liz Blackman’s cheeky colleagues took great pleasure in reminding MCV that her age was (a very young-looking) 29-and three-quarters when nominating her. Yet despite the fact this is the last we’ll see of Blackman in 30 Under 30, she’s certainly a deserving candidate this time round.
Blackman works in THQ’s UK marketing team, and is responsible for its Nintendo-focused brands such as the highly successful Big Beach Sports, and the upcoming All Star Cheer Leader on Wii. She also works on Games Workshop-licensed property Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War.
Liz has been with THQ for four years now, and previously worked at Ubisoft, where she earnt a reputation for dilligence and general niceness.
The man who makes Codemasters’ PR boss Rich Eddy ‘look good’ (his words, not ours), Sam Cordier has worked at the Warwickshire publisher for five years. In that time, he’s rocketed up from temp assistant to lead key product charges on a global level.
He has recenty taken the lead on the media support programmes for Rise of the Argonauts and Damnation, and continues to earn the Codemasters communication team praise from the international offices, distributors and media.
Cordier has also supported the firm’s emerging territory drive and this month introduced Codemasters to the burgeoning Russian market, presenting to trade and press at recent conferences.