UK video games companies have thrown cash in the face of the economic slowdown – spending an incredible 139 million on Q4 marketing as other trades tighten their belts.
The huge figure has funded a deluge of above-the-line advertising in the past three months, dominating newspapers and TV ad breaks in the lead up to Christmas. The massive investment has also fuelled giant nationwide retail promotions – including a spate of mall tours.
MCV understands that biggest contributors to the mammoth spend are platform holders, with two companies each spending in excess of 20 million since October. The highlights from both firms include gargantuan TV campaigns and massive first and third party support in the mainstream consumer press.
Deputy editor of Marketing magazine Richard Abbot said:
Despite all the talk of marketing budgets being slashed, we have seen massive campaigns not just for the consoles themselves but for games including Banjo-Kazooie and World at War.
Some of these campaigns have the production feel and media spend you would normally associate with a movie release.”
And it's not just core industry businesses that have spent big; retailers have got in on the act, too. The ‘price wars' that have seen titles such as Call Of Duty: World At War, Fable II and Pro Evolution Soccer slashed have stimulated more games advertising from the likes of Asda, GAME and Tesco than ever before.
Duncan Willett, trading manager on The Sun added: We're posting record weekly display advertising revenues at the moment and the reason for that is simple: The supermarket value war. Obviously a large part of that is games. Our entertainment revenues are up 19 per cent year-on-year – and gaming has played an integral role in that rise.”
To reach the 139 million figure, MCV collated information direct from publishers and retailers, as well as marketing data experts Nielsen Media Research. We also used figures from media ratecards, advertising agencies and trade insiders.
Nielsen's own research put Nintendo's spend at over 4 million for November alone.
MCV heard whispers that Microsoft had even matched certain publishers' ad spends for individual products – but the company would not comment when questioned.
* The list of companies considered in our research included: Microsoft, Nintendo, Sony, Activision, Ubisoft, EA, Sega, THQ, Eidos, Konami, Bethesda, Disney, Warner Bros, D3P, Rockstar, Midway, Asda, Tesco, Sainsbury's, Morrisons, WH Smith, GAME, Gamestation, CHIPS, Play.com, Amazon, HMV, PC World, Zavvi, Woolworths, Carphone Warehouse and more