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Posts with tag television

WoW Archivist: WoW's craziest TV ads

A WoW ad from China
WoW Archivist explores the secrets of World of Warcraft's past. What did the game look like years ago? Who is etched into WoW's history? What secrets does the game still hold?

Nefarian swallows a truck.

Two women duke it out in a supermarket.

A trio of singers shouts, "No means no!"

Mr. T introduces a new race and Chuck Norris roundhouse-kicks a kodo.

Those responsible for advertising World of Warcraft have hit on some crazy ideas.

This week, Blizzard debuted its first TV ads for Mists of Pandaria. As I'm writing this, I've just watched them air live on Monday Night Football. That's a big-time slot for a commercial here in the States and runs a cool $325,000 per nationally televised spot. The ads feature clips from the official trailer. If only the Bengals had put up as much of a fight as that panda.

But not all of WoW's commercials through the years have been quite so ... straightforward. Let's take a look!

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Filed under: WoW Archivist

The NBA playoffs, presented by World of Warcraft


This isn't exactly shocking news (this just in: Blizzard has an advertising budget!) but it is worth noting: Mark C. was watching the NBA playoffs the other day and lo and behold, guess which familiar logo appeared during a halftime sponsorship. Apparently the announcer even read off the name of the game during a tag. I don't think Mark is exactly right about it being one of the "first non-sports games being advertised in a sporting event" (I'm pretty sure I've seen one of those Killzone 2 or Call of Duty spots during my Cubs games lately), but it's the first time we've seen WoW promoted outside of the usual TV spots.

It's interesting to note, too, that it's being presented during the NBA playoffs as well -- I've seen more WoW twitterers tweet about the hockey playoffs lately than the basketball equivalent. Then again, Mark also says he saw it on the NBA TV subscription service, so maybe it was targeted at people who are willing to subscribe to a digital service. And just for the heck of it, we'll also point out that it was an LA (Blizzard is in Anaheim) vs. Houston (Blizzard also has an HQ in Austin) game, so maybe it was geographically targeted as well.

But this will probably not be the last time you see WoW in this context. Keep those eyes open.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Blizzard

MI6 marketing awards nominate Blizzard in six categories

Get ready to put a few more awards on the (ever-growing) shelf, Blizzard -- MI6, which is a conference about marketing video games, has nominated Blizzard in no less than six different categories for all of their marketing of Wrath of the Lich King. Everything from the Wrath of the Lich King launch campaign in general to the Diablo III logo specifically has been nominated for an award. The TV spots have gotten special attention, too -- the entire "What's your game?" campaign is nominated, as is the Ozzy Osbourne spot in two different categories, for best writing and oustanding TV or theatrical ad.

You can download the full list of finalists over on the MI6 site -- the rest of the nominations are kind off all over the place, though the marketing for Fallout 3 is in there quite a bit, including up against Blizzard for best writing, and best overall marketing campaign. The awards are going down in San Francisco on April 8th -- good luck to Blizzard on all of their hard work.

We still do have one request though: for the next ad, can we maybe get a girl who plays WoW? Sure, a Gnome in the cinematics would be nice, too, but so far, on the TV commercials, it's been all dudes.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Machinima, Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Wrath of the Lich King

World of Warcraft, as seen on television

Our favorite game made not one but two big appearances on TV this past week. First up, looks like the writer of TNT's Leverage (that Dan already interviewed a while back) is wasting no time getting his characters to fly the Horde flag, as you can see in the clip above (thanks to Massively for digging that up for us). The writer, John Rogers, told Dan that Blizzard actually vetted the dialogue above, which makes us wonder why they were ok with saying Burning Crusade, but didn't want to mention the second expansion by name. Maybe the episode was filmed so long ago that the name hadn't quite been confirmed yet.

And in other television news, we're told World of Warcraft made an appearance as a category on Jeopardy this week. We don't have video of that one (yet), but you can see a quick teaser over on Jeopardy's webpage that mentions the game as a category. World of Warcraft has of course appeared in the game show before as an answer, but this time around, there was a whole column of questions about it. If you see video anywhere online, let us know, and we'll add it here to the post.

Filed under: Horde, Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Humor

Activision exec: Videogames will eclipse other entertainment

Activision-Blizzard exec Mike Griffith also made a showing at last week's CES, crowing about an industry that he and his company are heading towards the top of. He said to a crowd there that videogames would "eclipse" "movies, recorded music and TV" as forms of entertainment in the future. He claimed that media such as films and music were passive, and that games are moving ever closer to becoming "a legitimate story-telling medium that rivals feature films."

Which all seems true, except that it's coming from someone who stands to make a lot of money off of just that happening. Still, for all of the bluster of Activision-Blizzard's hotshots, they've got a few of the most popular franchises in gaming behind them -- Blizzard (of course), the Call of Duty franchise, and Guitar Hero, which has made over a billion dollars for Activision. Especially in a time of declining CD sales, Griffith's words ring truer than ever.

But let's not forget, of course, that you can't have great stories without great storytellers, and the folks at Blizzard are definitely that. For all of Activision's bragging, they can't forget that these franchises, all of them, came from strong and talented studios -- Call of Duty was crafted by Infinity Ward, Guitar Hero by Harmonix, and obviously all of Blizzard's properties were put together by the company formerly known as Silicon and Synapse. Griffith can brag that his media is taking over the world, but we hope Activision doesn't forget who helped them get there.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Economy, Making money

The Guardian on The Guild

British newspaper The Guardian has a look at our favorite web series, The Guild, and how it has taken the MMO community by storm and vaulted its way up into one of the most popular television series that's not actually on television. There's no question that The Guild's popularity online was fueled by the fact that it follows a group of people who spend most of their time online, and with a built-in audience the size of World of Warcraft's, you might think that all they had to do was get the references right.

But as The Guardian notes, success for The Guild isn't just a matter of hitting a niche audience. Felicia Day and Kim Evey say they spent eight hours a day emailing the show around when it first came out. And while the show is of course sponsored by Microsoft now, the whole first season was powered by hard work and donations. The Guardian attributes The Guild's success to "direct marketing of content to a niche peer group" -- find an audience, and then make sure they know what you're doing.

And of course, as a Guardian commenter notes, it doesn't hurt that the show is funny, and as Felicia told us herself, they've gone out of their way to explain and convey the WoW-related stuff to an audience that might not always play MMOs. The series is attracting a lot of attention these days, not just as an MMO story, but also a how-to guide of how to get a television series off the ground without actually being on broadcast television.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Humor, Fan art

FCC Comissioner: World of Warcraft causes college dropouts

Oh boy. Deborah Tate is an FCC Commissioner (and will be for another three years at least -- she was appointed for another five year term in 2007), and claimed in a speech about telecom policy and regulation last week that "one of the top reasons for college drop-outs in the U.S. is online gaming addiction -- such as World of Warcraft -- which is played by 11 million individuals worldwide."

Never mind that World of Warcraft, is a game, not an addiction, and never mind that most of those 11 million people play it and are completely healthy socially and financially, and never mind even that any evidence you'd find that World of Warcraft causes dropouts is anecdotal at best. Can you really blame a game for someone making the choice to leave college? We, as you might have guessed, think not.

And there's more: Tate's Wikipedia page says that not only has she spoken out strongly in favor of DRM, and not only has she taken talking points directly from Clear Channel in trying to work on the Sirus/XM merger (a government official speaking the words of a corporation, that's just what we need), but she has also blamed television for childhood obesity. Nice one. One more reason why we are thrilled to see that we may finally get some folks in the FCC who actually know what they're talking about when it comes to online gaming.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, News items

Television writer is for the Horde!


John Rogers résumé is long and varied. Physics graduate, television writer and avid online gamer. He's credited with writing an early draft of the "Transformers" movie and creating "The Jackie Chan Adventures" animated series. His latest endeavor is the new action series "Leverage," premiering tonight on TNT at 10/9c. Every week on the new show a group of professional cons takes down corrupt authority figures using their unique skills. And they're not above using World of Warcraft to get the job done.

Wait...what?

You see while reading John's blog, I saw a single line about an upcoming episode of "Leverage" having a WoW reference in it, joining the ranks of "How I Met Your Mother," "Big Bang Theory" and "Stargate Atlantis." I contacted him to find out more about his new show, his love of the game and further confirmation that WoW is the new golf.

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Filed under: Features, Interviews

Ozzy Osbourne and Steve Van Sandt in two new TV commercials


Blizzard has put together two new TV spots for the holiday season. The first, seen above, features Steven van Zandt (better known as Silvio Dante on The Sopranos, but also a real-life performer in Bruce Springsteen's band) spouting an old Godfather III reference (that a lot of returning fans are probably saying to themselves after re-entering Warcraft for level 80).

And the second (definitely the more hilarious one) features Ozzy Osbourne as an Undead Warlock having it out with the Lich King over just who's WoW's Prince of Darkness. It's embedded after the break, definitely a must-see. Blizzard's doing terrific already -- their games are setting records, and subscriptions are higher than ever. But it doesn't look like they're taking this holiday season lying down at all.

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Filed under: Warlock, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, News items, NPCs, Wrath of the Lich King

Dr. Phil confronts WoW players

Yes, Oprah's psychologist (actually, I heard just the other day on Wait Wait that Dr. Phil was originally hired as a jury consultant on Oprah's beef slander case) has turned his mustachioed and Texas-accented attention to MMO gamers, and it's the usual rundown: someone's been playing the game way too much, and it's time for Dr. Phil to draw out the stereotype to anyone who finds a little fun in the online world of Azeroth.

To be fair, I haven't seen the show itself, so maybe Phil does admit that millions of people around the world play these games in their free time, and that the vast majority of them have paying jobs, lead healthy lives and have happy relationships. But he doesn't feature any of those on his website -- instead, he's got the story of lives ruined over and over again because folks without self control took their game too far. And all the usual TV culprits are there -- flash cuts of chaotic keyboard and controller pressing, blurred video, and pictures of pasty gamers playing late into the night while the rest of their lives go ignored. Worried that you might be addicted? Dr. Phil's also got a "gaming behavior audit" that will let you know, in just ten questions, whether you're an addict or not. Here's a helpful question: do you feel you play online games to deal with anxiety or depression in your life? If so, you may have anxiety or depression in your life! Thanks, Dr. Phil!

In all seriousness, sure, it's possible to play these games too much, and if you're playing the game even after you've lost a job or sacrificed a relationship, it's time to get help (or even better, just unplug the computer). But it would be nice to see a healthy gamer on these shows once in a while -- there's definitely plenty of them around, too.

[via BlizzPlanet]

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Humor

Foxtel to carry BlizzCon PPV in Australia


In Australia, and bummed you can't make it up to the states for BlizzCon? You too can experience it virtually -- while DirecTV has a deal to carry it on pay-per-view in the US, Foxtel has apparently landed the same agreement in Oz. For $14.95 a day (no word of getting it for free by signing up, which is the deal DirecTV is offering), you can experience all the festivities straight through your television. They're even offering that BlizzCon mount if you buy both days. One problem, though: it's all being shown live, apparently, so in order to see it all, you'd have to get up at 4am. But a little lost sleep is a small price to pay for experience all that is BlizzCon, right?

Of course, you could just stick to WoW Insider and we'll show you everything you need to see at the show for free. We don't have a mount to give you (yet), and we won't ask you to wake up at four in the morning, but we will have pretty in-depth coverage from right there on the scene. Or, y'know, you could do both. It's up to you, Aussies.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Events, Fan stuff, WoW Social Conventions, Blizzard

Australian TV covers World of Warcraft


Fortunately, this "mY Generation" show from Australian TV is a little more fair with WoW than the last bit we saw. Though the stereotyping of an entire generation and the video effects grate after a while, it's a generally better look at what it's like to be a World of Warcraft player. It would be nice to see, for example, these kids going out to a movie occasionally or interacting with other people (since most of WoW's population actually does that), and it would have been good to hear from more than just that scientific woman talking about the average playtime -- why all the focus on how many hours /played these people have and not what it feels like to play during those hours? But as far as mainstream reporting goes, it starts out as a pretty good description of what it's like to be a WoW player.

Part 2 and part 3 start to fall down, though, and by the time an intervention rolls around, the show gets a little more biased. I have to say, it would be fun to see a documentary done in this way for someone who watches TV 20 hours a week -- "We wanted to hang out with her, but she said the season finale of Top Model was on. She's a completely different person now!" Somehow, staring at a screen and doing nothing is still socially acceptable, but according to television itself, staring at a screen and interacting with other human beings isn't.

Thanks, Luke S.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Blizzard, News items

Four Wheels of Fury wins a Webby


Blizzard has posted that the commercial for the Toyota truck that used WoW as a setting has won a People's Choice Webby award for online commercial. It was beaten out for the actual award by those Mac vs. PC online ads that spanned across some of the most popular websites online, but in the voting, the people decided that "I am the lawgivaaa!" was a little more exciting and creative. And as big a fan as I am of John Hodgman (and I am a big fan), I have to agree.

So rack up another award for using Blizzard's game in television media. Personally, I'm waiting until the networks figure out that they need to set a sitcom in Azeroth -- can't wait to see "The Thunderhorns," coming to NBC this fall.

Filed under: Machinima, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Humor

Make Love, Not Warcraft wins Emmy

The South Park WoW episode: "Make Love, Not Warcraft" won the Creative Emmy for Outstanding Animated Program (for Programming Less Than One Hour).

Though the Primetime Emmys will not take place until Sunday, September 16th, the Creative Arts Emmys were awarded yesterday, September 8th at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, CA.

South Park beat out episodes from The Simpsons, Avatar, Robot Chicken and SpongeBob SquarePants for the award.

This episode is on the 10th season DVD which recently came out and don't forget you can get a discount just for typing in the code WARCRAFT if you order it from Comedy Central.

This isn't the first Emmy that South Park has won, but perhaps this kind of attention will get WoW more positive (or at least humorous) attention in other television shows. Though, when it comes to TV ratings, 9 million people worldwide does not a target audience make. For example, American Idol was considered slipping when it only had 30 million US viewers for an episode.

Would you like to see WoW references appear more often on TV? Or are you too busy playing to care?

MTV True Life: A WoW players casting call

Ever thought of yourself as a television star? Well, the time has come to put that dream into reality, or more specifically, into documentary. MTV True Life is looking for online gamers, specifically WoW players to showcase on an upcoming episode of the show. They are looking for people who have an interesting story to tell about how gaming fits into their lives.

World of Warcraft really is a world-wide phenomenon, and its players are just as wide-spread, each of them unique. Are you perhaps a mother-of-five who raids Gruul's Lair on the weekends, or a construction worker that spends his nights as a gnome rogue? If you're at all interested in being on the show, submit a photo of yourself as well as a screenshot of your character when you email the lovely Shannon and tell her your story. They ask that you be (or appear to be) between the ages of 16 and 28, and that you include your name (not your character's name, although that might be nice to include), location and phone number in your email.

Filed under: News items

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