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Gaming

Allen & Gerritsen, Neiman Bond Over RFID Pic-Tap-Toe

Five months ago, Boston-based agency Allen & Gerritsen acquired Philadelphia-based Neiman, expanding their staff to approximately 200. This gave both agencies the challenge of getting to know each other.

The folks 0ver at Allen & Gerritsen decided that simple names on emails amd faces in profile pics weren’t enough. What better way, they decided, than a friendly, cross-office game of Tic-Tac-Toe. But instead of simple Xs and Os, they decided to use nine “radio frequency identification (RFID) readers, a Wi-Fi enabled Arduino Yun, and Instagram” to put a new spin on the game. They dubbed their creation Pic Tap Toe. Here’s their explanation of the rules:

  • Each office takes turns by placing a special game piece on sections of a custom game board consisting of RFID readers and an Arduino.
  • Instead of Xs and Os, photos from employees’ Instagram streams appear on one of the 9 corresponding screens in each office.
  • Screens update in real time in both locations, becoming a digital connection point and a way to glimpse into our coworkers’ lives through the photos they’ve taken.

It’s a fun take on getting to know new co-workers, and an innovative use of technology. Beyond the immediate benefits to their newly expanded organization, Allen & Gerritsen see the game as a great example of the “huge opportunities in RFID and the ability to customize a message and communicate it wirelessly to an individual at point of sale.” Allen & Gerritsen sees RFID as a groundbreaking tool with limitless potential, and Pic Tap Toe will give their employees valuable experience with RFID while also letting employees from their different offices get to know each other. Check out the video above for a more detailed look at Pic Tap Toe and RFID and let us know what you think in the comments section.

 

W+K Amsterdam’s ‘Messimorphosis’ for ‘FIFA 14′ is Kind of Creepy

Last Thursday saw soccer star Lionel Messi become the world’s “first life-size, living avatar” dubbed Lifesize Messi, to promote EA Sports’ FIFA 14 for PS4 and Xbox One. W+K Amsterdam have just rolled out the follow-up TV campaign, “Messimorphosis.”

W+K chose to show a gamer morphing into Lifesize Messi as a metaphor for “how the game now feels more alive” than ever. The execution comes across something like an Aphex Twin music video. In other words, quite unsettling.

The spot opens with our gamer sitting on his couch, loading up his Xbox One. As he presses a button, he looks at his hand to see it changing before his eyes. Soon, his entire body is morphing into the Messi avatar, and it’s pretty damned creepy. There’s a shot of the kid’s unnerving smile, and a really freaky one of his face melting into Messi’s. This is pretty strange stuff. The close-up of his feet turning into cleats is just plain gross. We don’t see any gameplay (which looks pretty good, but not mind-blowing) until the final few seconds of the spot, with most of the 58 second ad devoted to the Lionel Messi metamorphosis. Clearly, W+K is banking on Messi’s star power and the lifesize avatar schtick — and presumably not factoring in that the morphing stunt will weird some people out. One thing you can say about “Messimorphosis” is that it’s certainly memorable.

If you’re easily disturbed or grossed out, avoid this one at all costs. If, on the other hand, you’re a big fan of FIFA, Lionel Messi, or are under the influence of hallucinogenic drugs, then this one’s for you. Credits after the jump. Read more

Check Out Twofifteenmccann’s Cinematic Campaign for Xbox One Exclusive ‘Ryse: Son of Rome’

Ryse: Son of Rome “Path of Vengeance” from H.K. McCANN on Vimeo.

Twofifteenmccann’s new campaign for Xbox One exclusive “Ryse: Son of Rome” is cinematic in approach and scope.

At the heart of the campaign is the 60 second TV spot “Path of Vengeance” (featured above) which sees the game’s protagonist, Marius, “fight his way from the wilds of the Roman frontier in Brittania, across the Coliseum floor and into the Imperial Palace itself.” In one of the spot’s more interesting touches, the action is accompanied by whispers from Roman citizens spreading his legend. Twofifteen wanted to represent how in ancient Rome “deeds of epic heroism were quickly spread by word of mouth, and the story changed based on who was doing the telling,” which they mimicked with the differing accounts of Marius in the spot. It’s a nice, immersive little detail that’s telling of the overall approach to the campaign.

In addition to the TV spot, Twofifteenmccann, in conjunction with production company Smuggler, created a web series featured on Machinima. Entitled “The Fall,” the series features four, five-minute mini-epics detailing Marius’ backstory, history and motives. The agency claims that each installment is a “mini epic film unto itself.” While that may be overstating a point, this is a very large-scale approach to market the game, and “The Fall” is a solid accomplishment in its own right. It also succeeds quite well at making the game look badass, with what appears to be a pretty compelling story. You can check out the first installment of “The Fall” after the break, along with campaign credits.  Read more

180 Amsterdam’s New Campaign Positions PS4 as ‘For The Players,’ Not the Player-Haters

Last month, “#4ThePlayers Since 1995″ had us feeling all kinds of nostalgia for Playstation memories from bygone eras. Now, 180 Amsterdam looks toward the future with their “For The Players” international PS4 campaign targeting the Christmas gift market.

The integrated campaign runs in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, India, South Africa and the Middle East, comprising “teasers, events and an interactive social media experience ‘The Players Monument” (playstation.com/4theplayers) where people can declare themselves players, adding themselves to a digital interactive monument, and becoming part of the PS4 community.” Make no mistake, this is a huge campaign, one of the most anticipated of the year.

The sentiment behind the campaign is that the design of Sony’s next-gen system centers around the player. Unlike recent Xbox One spots, which emphasize the system’s capabilities as an entertainment system with multiple uses, Sony is very clearly positioning PS4 as a gaming system. While Microsoft attempts to scoop up the casual “attach this to your TV for a high-quality Netflix/Blu-ray player that you can play games with as well” market, Sony is going for the gamers.

The spot features a first person perspective through an immersive world where multiple gaming worlds have been set free. You’ll recognize some of “the most famous heroes and villains ever to play a part in PlayStation’s” gaming worlds throughout the ads scenarios. I won’t give away too much, as spotting these for yourself is part of the fun. It’s a great way to build anticipation from nostalgia, and look toward the future as the spot highlights upcoming PS4 titles as well. The spot was shot in Budapest by director Scott Lyon for production company Outsider. Al Moseley, President & Chief Creative Officer, 180 Amsterdam described the campaign as “drenched in gaming culture, incredible effects and with every detail and every pixel it delivers to the true gamer.” If all that’s not enough to get you excited for the PS4, this should be. Credits after the jump. Read more

Zambezi Rolls Out Part II of MJ Uncensored for NBA 2K

On October 1, Zambezi released the first installment of an uncensored interview with Michael Jordan to coincide with the release of NBA 2K14. We’re pleased to cover the release of the second part as MJ, known to be private over the years, opens up a bit about his career, life, and family. When MJ talks about on-court incidents, the viewer can see brief reenactments of his most famous moments using the game’s graphics. The game has been out for awhile, but now that the NBA season is hitting its stride, 2K is looking for another marketing jolt to go with the PS4 and Xbox One releases in the next 10 days.

The best part is when MJ muses on his favorite Jordan shoe of all time, comparing it to choosing a favorite child, but then he goes ahead and rattles off his top-three in the next breath. By the transitive property, MJ could probably rank his offspring, which actually fits perfectly with his competitive and results-based history. Nothing wrong with that, just interesting insights that come from this four-minute candid interview.

Credits after the (basketball-related segue) jump.

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New CP+B Spots for Xbox One Tackle Retirement, Relationship Issues


With the Xbox One’s November 22nd launch date looming ever nearer, CP+B’s marketing blitz for Microsoft’s next-gen system continues with two new spots. Coming on the heels of the “Invitation” spot released late last month, the two new short spots highlight the system’s diverse capabilities while otherwise taking different approaches.

The first spot, “Retirement Home,” features recently retired NFL linebackers Ray Lewis and Brian Urlacher. Urlacher asks Lewis if he’s having any trouble adjusting to retirement as both watch football and play Madden 25 at the same time. Lewis claims not to be having any adjustment issues, but his actions say otherwise. It’s a funny little spot that will appeal to the (sizable) segment of the Xbox crowd who have always wished they could play Madden while watching the NFL.

The second spot, “His and Hers” addresses the apparent sexism of the “Invitation” spot (in which the only female featured uses the system only to watch movies, not play games). It highlights the voice recognition system by showing a woman command the Xbox One using her voice after arriving home to find her boyfriend watching soccer. She tells the system “Xbox go to Dead Rising 3″ and begins to play. Then she starts similarly commanding her boyfriend in a similar matter, telling him to get her a beer. It’s a bit over the top, but a welcome reversal of the gender stereotypes displayed in CP+B’s “Invitation” spot.

Credits and “His & Hers” after the jump.  Read more

Activision, 72andSunny Bring the House Down with ‘Epic Night Out’

“Epic Night Out,” the splashy new 90-second Call of Duty: Ghosts spot from 72andSunny for Activision, is indeed epic, and easily riffs on the four-guys-who-have-fun-in-danger motif made popular by The Hangover. There are a few celebrity cameos, a crumbling Las Vegas set, and classic music, Sinatra’s “Live Until I Die.” Very epic. But no baby, though. Instead, the four heroes and their dog travel from desert wasteland, to cityscape, to outer space, and then to a frozen tundra. With the music and quick editing, it’s hard to pay attention to anything else.

I’m all for first-person shooters, and I don’t think they are ruining kids. If this spot were for the U.S. Armed Forces, that would be different. But, it’s worth pointing out that guns, explosions, apocalyptic Vegas, Frank Sinatra, and Megan Fox is way past the boiling point of glorying violence for a TV spot. That’s sensory overload for all of the juiced up gamer-guys who are going to sit in the basements and pretend not to pee in empty soda bottles. It’s also brilliant misdirection.  And if not for the Grand Theft Auto V ads, this would be the best video game spot I’ve ever seen. Credits after the jump.

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Microsoft, CP+B Send Xbox One ‘Invitation’

I may be something of a Sony loyalist, but I’ve got to admit CP+B’s new spot “Invitation” makes the Xbox One shine. Even some of Sony’s biggest fanboys might concede it looks a lot better than the recent PS4 spot.

Directed by Hungry Man’s Bryan Buckley, the commercial vet who recently helmed the R&B-inflected DirecTV spot starring the Manning bros (and who earned an Emmy nod for Grey Poupon’s “The Chase,” also from CP+B),  “Invitation” features users invited into the world of several different games, and one movie. The spot opens with a giant robot warrior crashing a business meeting and making a “come here” gesture to a man giving a presentation. Then we see soccer player Steven Gerrard inviting a fan down from the stands. Spock invites a girl along for some sci-fi adventures. A sports car parks itself in front of some dude’s car and opens its door for him. (This is the automotive equivalent of “come here” apparently.) A zombie attempts to cajole a student in a library to join him, loses an arm, and then tells him to come along with the other arm.

Emphasizing the immersive nature of the next-gen platform, the spot announces, “This is an invitation to a new generation: where your games and entertainment are no longer separated, but together, in one.” Showing Xbox One users utilizing the system’s voice activation to launch games like TitanfallDead Rising 3, and the movie Star Trek: Enter Darkness gives fans an idea of what they can expect on launch day. The spot also shows users making use of the motion sensitive Kinect. You know, the camera that might be spying on you.

Mixing live action with just the right amount of actual gameplay, “Invitation” is slickly produced and should have Xbox fanboys chomping at the bit for the console’s Nov. 22 release date. My biggest problem with the spot is that the one woman featured uses the Xbox One not for gaming, but to watch a movie. Aside from this perpetuation of the gaming industry’s prevailing sexism (which most people won’t even notice), it’s a really solid ad. The whole “invitation” approach works to emphasize both the immersive nature of the system and the all-in-one entertainment value it offers. The $499 starting price, however, is less inviting. Credits after the jump.  Read more

Ant Farm Unveils ‘Call of Duty: Ghosts’ Gameplay Launch Trailer

If you’re a fan of the Call of Duty franchise, then you’ve been eagerly awaiting the release of Call of Duty: Ghosts while witnessing an all-out advertising assault for the game that began all the way back in May. The conclusion to that campaign is the new gameplay launch trailer from Ant Farm, the best look yet at what the game will actually look like.

Coming about a week after the UK spot “Faboom,” and two weeks after the Eminem music video “Survival” (also the song featured in this trailer), Ant Farm has unveiled a no-nonsense look at Call of Duty: Ghosts in all its gameplay glory. It packs as much action as possible into its 1:13 length, and really is quite well put together. For a gameplay trailer, it feels downright cinematic. It has about as many explosions as a trailer for a Michael Bay movie, but also shows enough of the unique scenarios in the game to give viewers an idea of what makes this Call of Duty installment unique. I’m not a big fan of first-person shooters, but I’ve got to say Ant Farm did a great job at making this game look badass. Not only will long-time fans of the series be salivating in anticipation of Call of Duty: Ghost‘s Nov. 5 release, they may win a few converts as well. Credits after the jump. Read more

Gaming Nostalgia Abounds in Sony’s ‘#4ThePlayers Since 1995′

This UK-centric, nostalgic PlayStation spot. “#4ThePlayers Since 1995,” traces the evolution of Sony’s gaming platform through the years by paralleling it with the evolution of one gamer’s room as he graduates from one console to the next.

At the start of the spot, he has the first Playstation and his room reeks of the 90s — complete with skateboard, turntables and a Blur poster. To fully immerse us in the nostalgia of the respective Playstation eras, Sony made sure all the details — from the dates on ticket stubs to the posters and magazines featured — were tailored to the time period. Other brands helped out, with Domino’s even donating pizza boxes for each of the Playstation consoles featured.

The spot was inspired by fans’ tweets and messages in response to the hashtag #PlaystationMemories, which trended worldwide earlier this year. Sony incorporated a lot of the ideas fans expressed and attempted to make a video to “represent what PlayStation has meant to all of us since 1995.” If, like me, you’ve been with Playstation since the first console, you’ll find it impossible not to feel nostalgic over the course of the 3:22 clip. Actually, Sony did such a good job representing the eras that even if you’re not a fan of their consoles, all the little details may have you feeling a touch sentimental anyway.

As someone who still has a ton of PS3 titles to play through (and can’t afford a PS4 any time soon anyway), it’s a little hard to get excited about the next-gen launch, but the games featured in this spot do a great job reminding me of all the good times I’ve had with Sony’s Playstation consoles over the years. It’s a great little look back at Playstation’s history as Sony looks toward the platform’s future. Well done, Sony. Well done. Anyone up for some Tekken?

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