Will Sega Score With Twisted Commercials?

Advertiser: Sega of America

Agency: Foote, Cone & Belding, San Francisco

Challenge: Pitch Sega’s new lineup of video games while boosting the image of the No. 3 game maker.

The Ads: Each of five TV spots pitches a separate video game, four of them dealing with sports. In an ad for the “NHL All-Stars ’98" hockey game, a stadium maintenance worker runs someone over with the machine used to smooth the ice rink. “Hey, buddy,” the maintenance worker says, “You OK?” An ad for the “NBA Action ’98" basketball game uses the same subversive humor. In this spot, nerdy youngsters boast of their basketball prowess, unaware of their ineptitude. But other kids mock them. “I seen your game on a milk carton,” says one critic.

Comment: Rather than show the games, the spots use twisted humor to give Sega an aura of hipness. But kids, who have been snapping up rival systems, aren’t likely to be convinced. The basketball spot holds up poor athletes to ridicule. $


Ads are rated from $ to $$$$, based on tastefulness and probable effectiveness, with $$$$ being best.