Advertising is important in making sure your game sells well, it may even be a more important factor than producing a semi-decent game. Nothing in the universe will ever persuade a tight fisted consumer into buying your game like seeing a beautiful and happy celebrity saying how much they enjoy playing it.
But the coup de grace for a company, the ultimate product pusher, is if you can get a celebrity to make a cameo in your game, or even better, provide some “magnificent acting talent” for whatever blockbuster it is you are creating. It is however, important to make sure you pick the right celebrity to endorse your product.
So Mr (or Mrs) Games Developer and your marketing team, pay close heed to my advice as I give you the low down on the most talented and sought after A-listers on the video games endorsing circuit at the moment.
1. Megan Fox
No this was not just an excuse for me to look at pictures of Megan Fox, if you thought I needed to make up an excuse to look at pictures of her, you were wrong. Regardless Megan Fox is something of a hot property at the moment, and she has recently been endorsing the movie tie in game for Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.
In this clip she calls the visuals “stunning and amazing” and says her favourite autobot is Bumblebee, she even talks about how she wanted multiplayer included from when she played the original game. If she was saying that about your game, you could be sure that copies would fly off the shelves.
Main appeal: Megan Fox is so honest, listen to the honesty in her voice in that clip, she even calls the game “bad-ass” proving she is cool and hip. Seriously I would trust literally anything that she said.
It is also plausible that the mere thought that Megan Fox might be the person you face off against in a deathmatch might sell an extra million or so copies. After all she does dig the geeky guy, perhaps she could could be romanced over Xbox Live…
Potential drawbacks: Jealous women might stop their boyfriends/husbands from purchasing the game, claiming that playing it amounts to infidelity.
2. Stephen Fry
Do you want your game to appear more intelligent? Do you want it to appeal to people of culture, who will tout your game like it was a 1920s vintage Pinot Noir? Then get Stephen Fry involved. This man is English class given form, there is something about the way the he speaks that soothes the soul, and whatever he says people will believe, because his vocabulary clearly marks him out as a genius (if you don’t believe me listen to his podcasts).
He has provided narration in Little Big Planet and the Harry Potter games, and voice work in Fable 2, showing he is willing and able to lend his talents to both large franchises and new IPs, with a degree of versatility that is hard to match.
Main appeal: No one will be able to find any faults with your game as long as Stephen’s docile tones continue to lull them into a sense of contentment, they will simply form orderly queues (which we are pretty good at doing here in the UK) to purchase whatever game it is you are selling and if he happens to have provided some voice work, you can rest assured no one will want to return it.
Potential drawbacks: It would be unwise to attempt to use him to endorse a Madden title, or a Nascar racing game, he’s not any good at hollerin’ or whoopin’, and doesn’t exactly possess a sporting physique meaning some fans might not appreciate his style.
3. Kiefer Sutherland
If it’s an endorsement for an all guns blazing, stuff exploding, terrorist killing simulator you’re after, you can’t get any better than Kiefer “Jack Bauer” Sutherland. He has already appeared in “Call of Duty: World at War” and the game has now sold over 8 million copies, coincidence? I think not, people know that Sutherland is the man to trust in a foxhole, and thus they know if he is in a game it must be worth a purchase.
Main appeal: Fans of 24 will eat up anything with Kiefer in, he has the right “tough guy image” to fit into a first or third person shooter with ease. If the game has competitive multiplayer you can be sure that frat boys will rack up many hours of deathmatch on Xbox Live, paving the way for Jack Bauer endorsed map packs.
Potential drawbacks: Mr Sutherland doesn’t have the most family friendly image, he spent 48 days in prison for a DUI, head-butted a fashion designer, and allegedly cheated on fiancée Julia Roberts with a stripper. Also be careful if you want to have him appear in a Christmas themed advert, as he has an irrational violent hatred of Christmas trees.
4. Beyoncé Knowles
If you are selling a rhythm or dance game, and you want a diva to publicise it, then you need Beyoncé, but it might cost you quite a lot. The R and B princess did a great job of advertising Nintendo’s “Rhythm Heaven” on DSi.
In this advert Mrs Knowles-Z says virtually nothing as she is obviously too crazy in love with the game, then she flashes that winning smile and laughs showing what a great time she is having. Little girls want to be like her, and thus they will want to play Rhythm Heaven and that is what you pay for when you get Beyoncé to endorse your games.
Main appeal: As Nintendo has shown, the casual market is a veritable treasure chest if you can just hook in some of the unwashed masses. Beyoncé appeals to the hordes of little girls who all dream of being pop superstars, to be honest the game doesn’t even have to be any good as long as you get her mug on the box. She also appeals to all the women independent who want to marry rap stars.
Potential drawbacks: Unless you have been reaping in huge profits from sales of animal care based shovel ware, you might find your pockets don’t run deep enough to hire Mrs Knowles. Also all 37 hardcore gamers might kick up a fuss over the fact that your game isn’t aimed at them; console yourself with the fact that they weren’t your target market anyway.