Unconventional Marketing Reaches Video-Game College Tour

It never fails. Video games attract college kids. So when Best Buy and Motorola reached out to educated 18- to-24-year-olds, the companies opened their wallets to sponsor the video game spring tour G3: Games, Gear and Gadgets that kicks off today.

Video-game tour organizer Game U planned the marketing campaign for the tour, which runs the gamut from colorful chalk drawings on campus sidewalks in front of the student union and fliers posted on buildings to online banner ads and 30-second television spots running on local cable networks. Tour director and event organizer Robin Davis says, "I typically hire a street team, but sometimes students take the marketing and promotions into their own hands."

The basic media buy for television ads targets specific postal ZIP codes near college campuses where the event will take place. The ads will appear on local cable stations, along with 30-second spots that run in campus theaters just prior to each movie showing.



This year, Best Buy tops the list as the title sponsor, followed by Motorola. Microsoft, which has been the title sponsor for the last two years, takes a lesser role in 2008, but still plans to spotlight Xbox 360. Apple will show iPod and iMac products, too. The six-week tour expects to reach more than 40,000 game enthusiasts at 20 major colleges and universities.

Best Buy sponsored the event for the past two years, but this year the electronics retail chain moved up to top sponsor, replacing Microsoft's Xbox 360 as the lead. "We're similar to a music festival when it comes to sponsorships," Davis says. "Top sponsorship means you get more visibility at each event."

This year's tour features the latest video games, technology and digital music. It showcases Best Buy's Plasma Lounge & Cyber Laptop Bar that sport interactive demonstrations and competitive gaming competitions.

As a national technology tour sponsor, Motorola will demonstrate Motorokrtm S9 stereo Bluetooth headphones and the Motorokrtm T505 in-car speakerphone and digital FM transmitter. The company also will hold interactive competitions supported by the video game "Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock" on Xbox 360 and a "Name that Tune" Challenge, giving away Motorola Bluetooth Music Packages and assorted prizes.

Also on tap, the Official Xbox Magazine returns this year to sponsor a "Halo 3 Challenge" held in the newly created Xbox 360 Arena. A one-on-one Halo 3 "Winner Take All" match offers unique game prizes at each college stop.

Game U aims to reach the young adult game-playing audience--college students. These early adopters and game enthusiasts will get the first opportunity to play several newly released titles on the tour.

The tour features spring titles from Electronic Arts division EA Sports, such as "Army of Two," "NFL Tour" and "NCAA March Madness 08." Ubisoft will have Tom Clancy's "Rainbow Six: Las Vegas 2." Midway plans to showcase "NBA Ballers: Chosen One" and "TNA iMPACT!." Sierra Entertainment features "The Bourne Conspiracy," based on the hit film trilogy.

From Konami Digital Entertainment, students have a chance to try out "Pro Evolution Soccer 2008," "Silent Hill Origins" and "Target Terror." THQ features "Frontlines: Fuel of War." Xbox will have "Mass Effect," "Halo 3," and "Lost Odyssey." The games will display on more than 30 Sharp Aquos high-definition, liquid crystal display televisions.

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