One year ago, Wade McGilberry was just another gamer living in Semmes, Ala. But last April, a few hours of video game baseball changed his life. After throwing the first verified perfect game in the 2K Sports' "MLB2K10" title, McGilberry won $1 million, as part of the brand's Million Dollar Challenge promotion. Now, he's become a spokesman for the game, appearing in commercials with Roy Halladay (who also threw a perfect game -- albeit against real batters in the Major League -- last year) promoting this season's title and contest. On baseball's true opening day, McGilberry spoke to Marketing Daily about his experience.
Q: Describe your experience as a brand ambassador for 2K Sports.
A: It's been a fun time so far. One of the first things we did was have a commercial shoot with Roy Halladay. That was an experience in itself, meeting [him], but just going through the whole commercial shoot process was an unreal experience. It's something you can't really prepare for too well.
Q: What has been the most memorable experience?
A: Meeting Roy Halladay. He's a real down-to-earth guy and he's really nice. The whole shooting of the commercial was an experience.
Q: Has anyone recognized you from the commercial?
A: Someone back in my hometown came up to my brother and asked if he was the guy who won a million dollars, but that's as close as it got.
Q: Have you been a gamer for a long time?
A: I played games my whole life. I played sports games growing up. Although later, in high school and college, I played first-person shooters. But seeing an Xbox Live ad got me back into sports games. It took me seven tries. I got the game at midnight, but the contest hadn't started. My wife tried to tell me to stay home from work, but I said I had to be responsible. So when I got home from work, I started playing.
Q: What did you do with the money?
A: We paid off our house. And I bought my wife a dog. We finally broke down in November, and we got a new car. Well, it's new to us. It's a used car.
Q: Did you know you'd be part of the marketing campaign?
A: They called me up earlier this year and proposed some ideas for me to help promote the game, and I was on board with it.
Q: What sort of special training did you do before throwing the perfect game?
A: They had a demo of the game out before it [officially] released. So for about two weeks, I practiced pitching on the demo.
Q: In what other ways have you been helping 2K Sports promote the game?
A: When the game first released, they had me do a lot of phone interviews that day. If someone pitches a perfect game this year, whenever they make the presentation, they'll have me there to pass along the torch, I guess.