Colin McRae: Dirt 2

James Batchelor

Colin McRae: Dirt 2

In its continuing efforts to reinvigorate the genre, Codemasters is bringing the UK’s best known racing franchise Colin McRae back to shelves. In the sequel to 2007’s Dirt, the publisher is providing gamers with the most comprehensive off-road racing experience released so far.

Dirt 2 is an adrenaline-fuelled racer that takes rally fans and followers of other extreme sports around the world, challenging them to master some of the harshest environments ever to be traversed on four wheels. Given how popular the previous titles in the series – not to mention Codemasters’ other racers – have been, the publisher is confident Dirt 2 will be a smash hit.

“Expectations for the game are really high, especially in the UK where there is a huge awareness of the brand,” says brand manager Julien Socquet-Clerc. “Colin McRae: Dirt 2 is set to be Codemasters’ biggest launch ever and the game is supported by our most extensive marketing campaign to date.

“We also think it will be our highest rated game, which is a big statement given the quality of precedent racer Race Driver: Grid, which won a BAFTA earlier this year.
“We are especially confident about the game’s quality as well as about our unique branding – the high-impact green of the packaging will run throughout all campaign materials. Releasing early September also gives us a key advantage in the competitive autumn release window.”

Not only does Dirt 2 bear the popular Colin McRae licence, it also features a range of other brands that should widen the appeal of the series beyond gamers and into the mainstream.

Followers of the rally world will be enticed by the chance to jump into the driver’s seat as Ken Block or other racing legends. And Socquet-Clerc reveals the publisher has a number of strategic partnerships that have bolstered the game’s content.

“For a racing title, Dirt 2 is unique in its lifestyle positioning,” he says. “We have partnered with credible brands such as DC Shoes, Monster Energy and the X Games and signed up over 40 of the world’s hottest music bands, which really gives the game a distinctive cool factor. There is nothing like it available this year.

“Dirt 2 provides the gamer with an experience that goes beyond car-and-track racing.”

Codemasters is putting its full marketing weight behind Dirt 2, dubbing this the largest campaign to ever promote one of their titles (see Marketing Drive). The publisher has already formed a colossal audience that eagerly awaits the next racer, and the long-awaited return to the Colin McRae series will be a key factor in driving sales this September.

“Retailers should expect a high level of pre-order,” says Socquet-Clerc. “The majority of Dirt 2’s campaign is being executed to drive the maximum level of pre-awareness and purchase intent in the run-up to launch.

“We want to give retailers the most anticipated racing title of the year.”

MARKETING DRIVER

Codemasters has prepared its biggest ever marketing campaign to support the release of Dirt 2. Promotions will be running throughout September across a range of media, ensuring everyone knows the best-selling rally racer has returned.

– A heavyweight TV campaign will run for three weeks starting a fortnight before the game hits retail shelves.
The ads will appear on Channel 4, Five, E4, Dave and other select channels, and will target 16 to 34 year-old males.

– Codemasters will be hitting all specialist games publications, including Official PlayStation Magazine, Official Xbox Magazine and Edge.

– Print ads will also appear in several action sports-focused publications throughout August and September, including Moto, Ride and Sidewalk.

– There will be a massive push online, with ads running in the four weeks up to launch on all key specialist sites including Gamespot, IGN, Eurogamer, CVG and GamesRadar.

– Dirt 2 sponsored IGN’s Gamescom channel, and the game’s official website is the first in the UK to be integrated with CVG.

– An extensive five-week campaign on consumer sites will see ads run on LastFM, We7, Spotify, MSN, Yahoo, The Sun and more.

– Trade programmes have been planned with all major retailers that will see plenty of eye-catching in-store advertising via POS. There will also be some guerrilla activities in key stores around the UK.

– The game will be on tour this summer in a partnership with stimulant drink Monster Energy, appearing at various music and extreme sport festivals including Sonisphere, Truckfest and Weston Beach race.

– A Dirt 2 and Xbox 360-branded Winnebago will be on the road throughout the UK, appearing at the aforementioned events and two launch shows, which will feature Ken Block and some well-known bands.

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