|This man will happily eat your soul. With Cianti.|
The company responsible for the launch at least, appears to be a firm that is still going strong today - London-based advertising house WCRS - and they are credited with coming up with the whole 'Why Don't We Play Together?' and 'Up To Six Billion Players' slogans. Both of these are, on the face of things, pretty good and project an image of a console designed to be fully hooked up to the world wide web and built from the ground up to be functional online. To be honest though, back in 1999 this really wasn't the case and as such Sega were forced by the UK's Advertising Standards Authority to remove these claims from it's adverts both in print and on TV. So far, so disasterous. That said, the system did have a largely successful launch period, selling 300,000 units in the period up to Christmas 1999 and while the campaign created by WCRS can hardly be considered as successful as their earlier collaboration with Sega ('To Be This Good Takes Ages, To Be This Good Takes Sega'), the TV ads featuring a barber duel and a load of kids chucking stones at a buoy did at least help to shift a few consoles; and even convinced Sega to open a call centre to deal with the influx of expected customer support calls. On a personal note, I really like the 'Up To Six Billion Players' slogan as it just says 'this is massive' to me. Obviously, six billion Dreamcasts could (and should) never actually exist, lest we be overrun by a totally different form of grey goo (yellowing goo?) and beeping VMUs. Nice thought though.
Other firms involved in the pan-European marketing included Carat UK and Initiative, and they both had different roles in the rollercoaster that was the short and tempestuous life of the Dreamcast.
This is by no means an exhaustive look at the various advertising blunders by Sega Europe during the Dreamcast's life, you understand. I just wanted to look a little deeper at an aspect of the console's life that is very rarely investigated by any anyone who isn't already invested in the advertising sector. The one thing we can take away from all this though, is that SoA's campaign kicked ass; while SoE's campaigns were - although quite humourous - something of a misfire.