Sega Rolls Out New Ads to Drive Consumers Online

Embattled video game system maker Sega Thursday inaugurated a multi-million dollar advertising campaign to support the launch of Sega.com’s SegaNet online gaming platform.

Exact spending was not disclosed.

The campaign’s 60-second spot “Civil War” and 30-second spots “Crushcrew & Rudd” and “Packer Pack” illustrate the competitive nature of playing via SegaNet, which can be accessed via Internet-enabled PCs and through the company’s Dreamcast console.

“Crushcrew & Rudd” and “Packer Pack” also focus on the company’s new title “Sega Sports NFL 2K1,” and feature animated versions of Minnesota Vikings outside linebacker Dwayne Rudd and wide receiver Randy Moss.

The ads will debut during the 2000 MTV Video Music Awards Thursday, which the company is also sponsoring for the second consecutive year.

With an estimated 22 million viewers in Sega’s target age range expected to watch the program, the company is banking that the exposure will boost awareness of SegaNet and its Sega.com site.

“Sega is confident that bringing our compelling content online will move interest in online gameplay from niche enthusiasts to the masses,” said Sega of America vice president of marketing Joe Culley.

It also wouldn’t hurt Sega if the campaign beefs up flagging sales of the Dreamcast.

The system is currently facing intense competition in Japan from Sony‘s Playstation 2 console, and sales are expected to slow in the domestic market once the Playstation 2 becomes widely available in the U.S. in October.

The spots, created by Foote, Cone & Belding and featuring digital animation work from Pacific Data Images — best known as the creators of the animated feature film “Antz.” — resurrect the popular “Sega scream” tagline used in the 90s.

Following the debut, the spots will rotate on eight different cable and broadcast networks, including MTV, ABC, BET, Comedy Central, FOX, UPN and the WB Network.

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