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Showing posts with label WCRS. Show all posts
Showing posts with label WCRS. Show all posts

In Search Of The Barber

The various Dreamcast advertising campaigns hold a certain fascination for me. The It's Thinking and Mr Sega/Yukawa campaigns from the US and Japan respectively were massively successful and we've looked at them in the recent past (just don't mention the Spud Dive). Before you groan 'not another advertising post' though, please bear with me. This is slightly different for reasons which will become apparent. The European advertising campaign for the Dreamcast launch was made up of several different TV and cinema adverts, but the one most people will be familiar with is this one:


The advert is known as Shave, and I'm sure you've seen it before or possibly even remember when it was shown on (European) TV and in cinemas back in that brief period in 1999/2000 when the world was gripped by Dreamcast-mania.

So let's break it down. Robbie Williams' Let Me Entertain You blares, rather appropriately from the speakers as a bunch of fresh-faced Foreign Legion recruits are lead into the barbers studio of some form of military installation. Three barbers await, and are labelled as players one, two and three and then quickly set about engaging in a battle to see who can shave their conscript's head the fastest. Player Two comes out on top as the guard looks on, the younger competitors beaten by the experience of their older adversary. Victorious, the character whom we will henceforth refer to as The Barber, gives a wry smile to the camera as the story comes to a close. It's not a bad advert by any means, and sets the scene perfectly - the Dreamcast was all about multi-player competition after all, what with all the online gubbins. There are some negative points, such as the way no game footage at all was used (and likewise in the other advert from this campaign entitled Buoy) but that's a different story.

Now, I did do a post fairly recently where I looked briefly at the (slightly xenophobic) European campaigns, but this time I want to focus solely on something that has been bugging me for a while: just who is the winning barber in this advert? For a very short period between 1999 and 2000, this gentleman's face was plastered all over TV and cinema screens; a poster showing him posing with a barber's chair and hair clippers could be found in pretty much every games shop in the land, and the vast majority of Dreamcast games came with a 'coming soon' pamphlet in the rear compartment with this guy all over them. But do a Google search for 'Dreamcast barber' or words to that effect...and do you know what you'll find? Nothing. Not a bean, other than a few images like this - most of which come from this very site:
So the question remains: just who is the actor who portrays The Barber? What is his name? Did he appear in any other productions and what did he make of his five minutes of fame? In the famous words of Sherlock Holmes, the game is afoot...

Why Don't We Play Together?

The American Dreamcast launch has gained something of a mythical status in this zeitgeist period of celebratory retro-overindulgence. The whole 9.9.99 campaign was a major success as far as console launches went up until that point, and the advertising slogan (It's Thinking) was a fairly interesting tagline that implied that the system was so advanced that it could become self aware at any moment, unhook itself from the TV and bludgeon you to death with an iron while you slept soundly in your cosy warm bed. Happily, reports of this type of occurence were swept under the rug by Sega of America's black ops dept and so life just went on as normal for the vast majority of us. The UK release of the Dreamcast was intended for the first half of September 1999, but due to British Telecom's testing of the Dreamcast network running over deadline, the system didn't launch until October. That's not really relevant here though - what I want to look at in this post is the marketing stategy Sega Europe employed in place of the mighty 'It's Thinking' campaign waged by their US colleagues. The story behind the Dreamcast's various UK and EU advertising campaigns is a muddled one, and involves a plethora of different agencies fighting for a slice of Sega's reported £60m marketing war chest.
This man will happily eat your soul. With Cianti.