DESPICABLE ME is an animated movie and video game that tells the story of Gru – a mastermind backed with an army of minions who wants to steal the Moon.
The film has already landed in the US to widespread acclaim. It took $60m at the box office in its first weekend, knocking teen phenomenon Twilight: Eclipse off the top spot.
Namco Bandai product manager Kate White says: “We’re really excited about the game as the film is on track to do incredibly well over half-term.
“The strong marketing campaign from Universal in the UK looks like it will drive equivalent results over here. We have our own great marketing plan in place to really capture the fans of the film and drive them into games stores with some strong pre-order campaigns.”
As you would expect, Despicable Me: The Game follows the storyline of the film closely. Players take on the role of Gru, voiced in both the movie and video game by Steve Carell, as they plot, steal and zap their way to greatness.
The comical minions from the film are key to their success. Gamers must command their own army of these obedient freaks in order to solve puzzles and clear the path ahead.
These characers are also central to the DS version, subtitled Minion Mayhem. Players must harness the different abilities of each minion to complete levels within set time periods. Examples of minion types include firefighter minions who can douse flames, sumo minions who can defeat enemies and those who can zap through walls and create passages.
Namco Bandai has been working closely with Universal Pictures to cross-promote the impending arrival of the film and the game.
White says: “We were part of Universal’s fantastic Despicable Me shopping centre roadshow around the UK in August where we had playable pods as part of the stand, which gave us brilliant brand awareness among film fans.
“Universal have been running a high awareness marketing campaign around the film over the past few months and it will be ramping up from now onwards until launch. So we’re really excited about the impact that this is going to have on the licence for us.”
While Universal is running a dedicated nationwide campaign (see ‘Universal Appeal’), Namco also has significant resources for its own marketing efforts.
The publisher has drawn up a strong print campaign targeted at kids press, which will run until the end of October.
There will also be heavyweight online advertising across a range of sites, including sponsorship on the Cartoon Network website and a “Despicable” spy campaign on popular kids’ website Binweevils.
Finally, a series of other promotions will run including a Pizza Hut campaign where 1m activity books will be given away to kids over two months.
Film studio Universal has an extensive campaign planned for the film launch of Despicable Me, giving extra exposure to the video game.
The entertainment giant has arranged competition spots, ads, banners, homepage takeovers and microsites across key websites including Nickelodeon, Disney and Cartoon Network. These will be bolstered by a Despicable Me online game and social media activity.
Ten, 20 and 30-second ads will run on parents and kids TV channels.
From mid-September to late October, Despicable Me and the film’s minions will be taking over the airwaves on a range of stations, including parent and teen networks.
The film’s minions will appear on bus wraps, posters and in shopping centres across London from mid-September onwards.
The press will cover the special October 11th premiere and the launch of the film on October 15th. Universal also has another burst of press activity happening throughout the half-term school break, targeting kids and families.