Tag Archives: Media Promotion

The Tony Hawk Franchise Fizzles Out

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater is a skateboarding video game series credited with having the most successful skating video game of all time, both critically and commercially. That particular game is Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2, released in 2000.

Tony Hawk Pro SkateSo where did an innovative gaming franchise go wrong? Why was Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5 released with barely a blip on the radar? I will share my two cents on this, along with other voices of the internet.

If anything, the development team behind this series should be celebrating the game’s history and hyping that aspect as much as they can. Instead, the release of THPS5 felt like a feeble attempt at the last hoorah of a has-been game series that tried to reinvent itself too many times, and ultimately failed to recreate the successful gameplay and excitement of its initial titles.

The promotion of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5 started with a clip on instagram five months before release. The clip shows a real-life parody of the skater selection screen of the early Tony Hawk titles, where the player can change the skateboard and style of the clothes for their skater. The clip started some buzz on the rumor of a future game. Later, five separate trailers were released (Launch, Skaters, Skaters 2, THPS, Behind the Scenes), along with a spot with Conan O’Brien and Lil Wayne.

But once the gameplay was seen, it received mixed reviews. People new to the franchise may have been interested, while the general consensus of the hardcore fans was similar to Dave Roth’s sentiments below.

Dave Roth QuoteAs a fan of the series for 16 years now, I reserved my judgement until I could actually get my hands on a copy of the game to play and see for myself. Sadly, I was disappointed. It did not live up to the nostalgia of the great games from my youth. While the new game did bring some cool features, like the online skatepark, multiplayer online sandbox, format gameplay, and downloadable user created skateparks, the game was glitchy, full of bugs, and had almost zero replay value. While the game was intended to be more approachable and easy to pick up and play, it felt oversimplified, with ridiculous physics that exaggerated the arcade style they claimed to be shooting for.

You don’t have to look too far to find a theme among the reviews of the game’s quality. On Metacritic it received 31/100, with a 1.5 out of 5 star user rating. On IGN, it received 3.5/10. There are rumors from YouTube and reddit that suggest the game was rushed to cash in on one more title before Activision’s contract ended at the end of 2015. This would explain the game’s poor quality and reception from fans.

It’s easy to sell a great product, which THPS5 had the potential to be. Great products sell themselves. It is far more difficult to sell a product that is not great and has disengaged fans. Tony Hawk fans felt that the new game seemed to be catering to a new younger crowd with an easier rating and cartoon-like graphics. Unfortunately, that is what THPS5 actually was. Activision assigned THPS5 and the two previous games, Tony Hawk Ride and Tony Hawk Shred, to game developer Robomodo. Robomodo attempted to bridge the success of the originals in the series with the new gaming technology of today, but they created a mutt that didn’t get very far.

Tony Hawk Pro SkaterThe promotion for THPS1 included demo discs which fans could play months before release and voice their opinion to Activision for feedback. This engaging strategy was highly successful in the past. Had the promotion campaign for THPS5 attempted to engage its audience more proactively like this, I would likely be writing about that success, instead of one that failed to build hype and engage its fans.

With this last iteration of the series, it is rumored that THPS may be done for good, and that may be a good thing. Despite the sour taste left from THPS5, the first titles of that franchise will forever be remembered, in my mind and the minds of many, as the best skateboarding video games in history.

Devin Harschnek

Living Room Raving All the Rage

Miami Music Week draws hundreds of thousands of eager dance music enthusiasts to club, pool and yacht parties to celebrate dance music and everything it represents. And that’s just the first few days leading up to the main event, Ultra Music Festival.

Miami Music Week

Since it’s inception in 1999, Ultra Music Festival has been a dominant and influential power in the electronic music industry. Due to its unique positioning so early in the year, UMF attendees were the very first to hear the latest and greatest tunes that are sure to continue rocking festival stages and dance floors for the rest of the year. That is, until UMFtv broke onto the scene.

Beginning in 2012, the Ultra livestream has quickly boomed from a casual, under promoted fling to a full blown rave-from-your-couch event. My friends and I actually schedule parties around the livestream.

Flash forward to 2015, and Ultra Music Festival officials decided to change the streaming platform from YouTube to a platform called Twitch.tv, exclusively. Twitch has been expanding in growth and popularity recently due to the rise of eSports streaming, which is what the platform was created for in the first place.

According to an interview with BusinessWire, Adam Russakoff, Director of Business Affairs for Ultra said, “We are always pushing the envelope, working with the most innovative companies to stay ahead of the curve and offer our fans as much value as possible.” In an interview with Billboard, Colin Carrier, CSO and Head of Music at Twitch claimed “…being able to host the Ultra Music Festival on our platform with sponsorship from a brand like 7UP is testament to the power of live social video.”

Now, with the entire world glued to their preferred media streaming device, UMFtv broadcasts DJs and other tastemakers showing us the direction that they believe the “in” sound is going. Not to the surprise of anyone, they’re fairly accurate.

In order to demonstrate the magnitude of Ultra’s influence on the dance music scene, a simple search on the electronic music bazaar Beatport is all that is needed.

Considered by some to be the “Biggest Track of Ultra Music Festival 2015,” Valentino Khan’s “Deep Down Low” was officially released on March 17th, 2015 on Grammy award winner Skrillex’s record label, OWSLA. Despite wearing the impressive moniker that is OWSLA, the track initially did not see impressive sales. But when it came time for the headlining acts to take the mainstage at Ultra, “Deep Down Low” became the star of the show. As of February 2016, “Deep Down Low” was the number one most downloaded OWSLA track on Beatport.

With the electronic music industry only seeing continued growth, I don’t think we’ll see the influence of Miami Music Week diminishing anytime soon. Many critics and skeptics point at the electronic music “bubble” popping at any moment due to the amount of corporate money that has been put into the industry, but that certainly will not stop the creatives from putting their passion and energy into doing what they love most. See you all at my Ultra 2016 livestream party!

Cal Gruening

Discover Dylan Again: The Cutting Edge Bootlegs

“To live outside the law you must be honest”, Dylan sneers as he rounds out the second verse of another lyrical masterpiece. Indeed, he’s been doing just that for a career approaching the six decade mark, and “The Cutting Edge,” the newest in a long-running series of official bootlegs and unreleased material, gives an unprecedented look into the mind of America’s greatest living artist from his most eclectic period.

Bob DylanThe trilogy of “Bringing It All Back Home”, “Highway 61 Revisited”, and “Blonde on Blonde”, still stands today as the most impressive creative output by any American artist in a short timeframe. In 1964, Dylan stood alone, armed with only an acoustic guitar, harmonica, and an unbelievable ability to write songs of succinct poetic power. By the end of 1966, he’s touring with a revved up electric rock band, singing twelve minute ballads about literary cornerstones, and has completely changed the face of rock music forever.

The Cutting Edge is the behind-the-scenes look at everything that went on in the studio during that eighteen-month period of creative output.  It includes takes of classic songs that were tossed or rearranged, extra verses and alternate lyrics, and even some songs that were cut completely from the album, and were never heard from again.

We’ve all heard these songs hundreds of times. “Just Like a Woman”, “She Belongs to Me”, “Like a Rolling Stone”, these are all classic Dylan tunes. As such, the original recordings might not have the same surprise or edge to them that they might have once had. We now know every note, every harmonica break, every asthmatic sneer. Getting a new look at these songs is refreshing, and a reminder of what made us all fall in love the first time we heard these songs.

But we didn’t hear these songs by accident, as Dylan was not an underground artist at the time. Many of these songs were on the Billboard 100, if not in the Top 20, unthinkable by the pop music standards of today. As such, we know that then and now Dylan has always had the savvy marketing department of Colombia Records at his fingertips to handle every distribution deal, and every dime dealt.

They once again have done a fine job for this release. They’ve produced a promotional video voiced by Penn Jillette (above) to tell the story of this particular package. Colombia is aware there are many different levels of Dylan fans to engage with in the marketplace. There are always going to be college kids listening to the new album, and for that audience they’ve put out a twelve song “best of” CD. This solely includes the alternate tracks to the most famous songs from this era.

Bob Dylan CDsThey’ve also released a six CD Collector’s Edition for fans that engage beyond just the greatest hits. Where Colombia has really gone all out, though, is the 18-Disc Limited Collectors Edition. This includes every note that Dylan recorded in this period, along with art books, photographs and memorabilia. There are many fans who were just kids when these songs were recorded, who are in positions of relative power now. They can afford the $599 price tag on the collector’s edition and not think twice about something they consider high art. For the rest of us there’s always the distilled CD release, and the internet radio services to rely on.

Dylan has never been afraid to try something new or different. At first glance the inclusion of a karaoke-based mini game on his website to promote this new compilation might seem out of place, but once you remember just who we’re trying to promote it somehow makes perfect sense. The game requires you to hook up a microphone to your computer, and sing-along to “Like a Rolling Stone”. If you can match Dylan’s unique pitch and timbre, you unlock a bonus track to sing to. I personally got 92%, and if anyone reading this can beat me, I’ll gladly lend you my copy of the CD.

The website also includes the ability to play around with the mixes of the song, and the presentation is phenomenal. You can hear tapes winding in the background as well as Dylan’s asthmatic coughing and wheezing. There’s three different “session” types to play around with. The first is called “Jam Session”, where you can jerk around with the different instrumental tracks + Dylan’s voice to create your own arrangement of the iconic tracks. A “Listening Session” mode, where you can scroll through time and listen to the development of some of these songs. If songwriting was a sport, it’s definitely a game of inches, and that’s no more obvious than in this mode here. Thirdly is the aforementioned karaoke session. Who else is doing this kind of interactive promotional material? It’s different, engaging, and most of all fits the theme of the artist and his music perfectly.

If there’s one thing Dylan has done over the past five decades, it’s subvert expectations. From folk music to rock ’n roll, to gospel, Frank Sinatra and more, he’s never looked back to where he had been, only to the horizon. More importantly, when he does pursue something new, he never breaks away from bringing a piece of himself to the new medium. Even now at seventy-five years old, he’s releasing interesting bootlegs of older material, touring like a man in his twenties, and putting out wonderful new records. The marketing is reflective of that, and it all speaks to a man who shows no signs of slowing down or giving up just yet.

Like the song says, “He not busy being born is busy dying”.

Sam Strajack

Are You A Hero? An Analysis of GoPro’s Marketing Strategy

GoPro. A brand name that has been associated with some of the most intense videos that we’ve ever seen on social media and television. Why is GoPro considered to be one of the fastest growing camera companies in the world, and what has helped them become what they are today? The answer is simple: GoPro’s marketing strategy. In this post I will give a brief history and introduction to GoPro, what its marketing strategy is, whether or not its strategy is effective, and then end with a question of how its strategy could be altered and what that could mean for GoPro.

GoProIn 2002, Nick Woodman returned from a surfing trip in Australia where he was disappointed because he was unable to get the footage he wanted of the trip because the required equipment was expensive and not readily available to non-professionals. After building several prototypes of a camera that could satisfy his needs, Woodman released the first GoPro Hero based on the 35mm film camera in 2005. Only a year later the Digital GoPro Hero was released. Since then, GoPro has released several models, but its most recent model is the Hero 4 Black which is capable of 4K video at 30 frames per second.

So what makes GoPro’s marketing strategy so special compared to similar companies? Before we define why GoPro is so successful at marketing its products, we should look at one of their most recent advertisements. The advertisement below is their most recent ad and was shown during the Super Bowl this year.

This ad and many of its ads in the past have one thing in common: they were all constructed from User Generated Content. GoPro’s customers construct their ads for them by submitting videos of themselves using the product in the field. This is genius. On one hand you accomplish the task of “showing rather than telling” in regards to advertising the product and on the other hand you don’t have to coordinate a brainstorm session for your next commercial idea; users do it for you and all you have to do is pick your favorite videos.

GoProHowever, GoPro’s marketing strategy accomplishes more than just giving the production team producing these commercials a break, it sells the idea of personal heroism. With each GoPro ad we see, we begin to see that we are capable of capturing the interesting angles that we see in our favorite professional videos of extreme sports athletes. GoPro’s name and its slogan “be a hero” all connect back to the main theme of personal heroism by allowing the user to feel as if they are a professional.

GoPro pushes the limits of story-telling and engages its audience by celebrating the adventurers who use their products by featuring them in their videos online. GoPro showcases its favorite videos submitted by their customers on their YouTube channel, which has helped GoPro become one of the most successful brands on YouTube.

Because of GoPro’s connection with its customers on many social media platforms (YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) it is able to reinforce brand loyalty by creating the opportunity for a user’s content to be used to sell the product. This connection via its user-centered marketing strategy and a product that is customizable, has a compact design, and is user-friendly is what has allowed GoPro to become one of the most successful camera companies in history.

After looking at GoPro’s marketing strategy it is easy to why GoPro is so successful and why it is a perfect example how social media can create a strong brand identity. In addition to selling its products through User Generated Content, GoPro also markets its cameras by giving them to celebrities and professional athletes. What kind of promotional content do you think has a greater influence on the target audience: content created by the average person or content created by celebrities/athletes?

Kyle Stoutenberg

Just Brand It: Nike Does It Best

It’s a Saturday Morning in your favorite college town. You wake up, put on your socks, shorts, and favorite team’s jersey. You turn the TV onto ESPN’s College Game Day before putting on your jacket and heading out to tailgate. More than likely, your day has been consumed with one major brand. Nike is everywhere in our lives, whether it be the socks you wear or the commercials you see on TV. Nike has become a part of everyday life, especially if you have anything to do with the sporting world.

NikeNike Incorporated is a clothing, footwear, sportswear, and equipment supplier Originally based in the United States. It is the world’s leading supplier of athletic shoes and apparel. It’s headquartered are located near Beaverton, Oregon and has 44,00 employers world wide. Originally it was founded as Blue Ribbon Sports by Bill Bowerman and Phil Knight on January 25, 1964.

Celebrity endorsements are huge in the sports clothing branding world. Nike uses stars like LeBron James and Tiger Woods for customers and children to look up to. Nike has Hundreds of millions of dollars poured into their celebrities to sport their brand within everything they do on and off the field or court. LeBron alone signed a lifetime $500 Million contract for the brand at the end of 2015.

Nike also uses inner laziness as the enemy, and challenges you to “Just Do It.” They brand themselves via platforms through social media, sports networks, and the sports teams themselves. When reaching the everyday person, Nike wants to make them feel like the best athlete they can be. And to be the best, they have to wear the best and get outside, and get fit.

NikeOne of Nike’s most recent advertising developments targets young adults. To promote the Nike SLAM brand, they presented “Nike Pictures” where they made a full short film following kids trying to figure out who their favorite NBA stars are by living with them. They showed 30 second commercials on television for two months, driving people to watch the entire film on the Nike Slam website.

Nike has come a long way since the 60’s. The Iconic Nike Swoosh can be found everywhere. By using information gathered through everyday experiences from their customers, Nike brands itself through heroism and finding an internal fear inside their customers. Though on the surface it seems like two opposite strategies of branding, it works enough to put them in the Forbes top brands in the country.

Austin Hansen

Social Media Marketing: How Music Festivals Are Advertising FO FREE

SMO or Social Media Optimization seems to be the game changer in today’s media driven world. Social media is an extremely easy and cheap way to market any brand and is accessible to basically anyone. So it only makes sense that there is still a more efficient way of using a free and open service. The music industry is one segment of the media that has taken full advantage of social media and its marketing practices. In this article I will discuss the ways in which music festivals such as Tomorrowland, EDC, Electric Forest, and Okeechobee use social media as their primary marketing medium.

YouTube: YouTube is known for entertaining others with it’s user generated content. It also houses a lot of paid for advertising that are at the beginning of most videos. Music festivals however, have found a better way to market than just paying for ads. Instead, they create trailers, after movies, sneak peek, and production videos for their youtube channel. Tomorrowland owes a lot of their global recognition to its Aftermovie views on YouTube.

Click the photo to experience the magic of Tomorrowland.

Twitter: Twitter has become the reliable source for festival information. When I am looking for an updated lineup or tour dates, my first search is within Twitter. It has also become the number one place for a flow of communication between the consumers and businesses. With Twitter holding business accountable, customer service has been able to improve as well.

Electric Forest

Snapchat: Snapchat is used in a number of different ways. Sometimes the festivals hardly have to participate and curated user generated content advertises for itself. Recently, festivals have been creating their own Snapchat name and allowing artists to take over the account in order to advertise the event and get people interested. It’s shameless self promotion for both the artists and the festival, what a win win.

Instagram: Instagram has become the platform for different competitions, such as photo contests, scavenger hunts, or voting for new DJs to perform. Since Instagram is basically archived photos, it creates a feeling of nostalgia for those that have attended previous events. For prospective attendees, short clips and photos give an individual an idea of what the environment will be like.


Facebook: Facebook groups are not only a way to advertise and create an event, but also a way to connect people who have similar interests. In the cases of festivals, a lot of groups are created in order to share festival information, help consumers trade tickets, and also collaborate on camping groups or car rides. It helps build a community before the event begins.

Austin Red Smith

These are just a few of the ways in which social media can be used to market. To check out more tips for social media marketing. click here.

Partnerships: In addition to utilizing social media to its fullest degree, partnerships are also a huge part of advertising for music festivals. Common partnerships are made with companies like Red Bull, Bud Light, Miller Lite, Pandora, Sirius XM, Coke, and more. These partners oftentimes hold their own ad campaigns using footage from previous events. They also host VIP lounges, where they give out samples, play games, and interact with attendees. These partnerships end up being great ways for both businesses to gain exposure. An example of some partnerships made with Okeechobee this year can be found at the bottom of their webpage.

So as we conclude, I hope that this article has not only convinced you of the magic behind social media marketing, but it has also peaked your interests in music festivals and similar events. Especially now that you know all the information is housed right there in your twitter feed.

Sam Fickett

Can You Help Me With This Title?

Ok, so I may not actually be looking for help with the title for this blog post.  But it got your attention didn’t it?  It may have even gotten you to read this far into the post. This is the sort of tactic that Doritos is said to be the best at.  The tactic?  Participatory marketing.

Participatory marketing is a strategy that is being used more and more these days.  Companies ask for input or help from their consumers in many different things from ad ideas, to new products.  It is easier to do now because communication between consumer and distributor is much easier than in the past.

It has turned into a hit because the younger generations love to feel like they are a part of something.  So if a company asks for people’s help, it makes it that much more likely that those people that participate will want to consume the product they are “helping” with.

Doritos Super BowlSo this is where Doritos comes in.  Doritos is known as one of the best companies in participatory marketing by several successful campaigns over the last ten years.  The mastermind behind these campaigns is President of Global Snacks Group and Pepsico Global Insights, Ann Mukherjee.  Ann has put an emphasis on user generated advertising since she joined Pepsico in 2005.  “76 percent of purchase decisions are influenced before consumers even start shopping,” said Mukherjee when talking about the importance of participatory marketing.

This just proves how important it is to get your name out there and get into good favor with consumers so your product is already on their mind as they go out.  This article does a great job of going into detail about the benefits of not only doing participatory marketing, but doing it right.

The first of the campaigns was “Crash the Super Bowl” that started in 2006.  I will talk a little bit more about this in detail in a second.  The second campaign was in 2007, the Doritos Flavor Experiment.  This campaign was asking the consumers to help them name new flavors of Doritos.  This may not seem that significant, but it did set a base for the other campaigns that they were doing and would do in the future.

Doritos FinalistThe next campaign that they did was in 2010, the Doritos Unlock Xbox competition.  This was where they asked the consumers to create a video game around Doritos.  The winning game ended up being “Doritos Crash Course”, which you could download for free on the Xbox store.  It ended up getting downloaded over 1.4 million times.  It was their second most successful participatory campaign that they have had.

Another thing that this did was really connected to Doritos’ gamer demographic.  A lot of times Doritos is synonymous with video games and gaming.  This kind of came about because for a long time Doritos has paired with different video games to promote the video game and Doritos, putting the game on the bag and putting game codes inside the bags for consumers to use.

The last major campaign I am going to talk about is the aforementioned “Crash The Super Bowl” campaign.  This has been by far the most successful campaign that Doritos has done.  Ever since 2006, Doritos has asked fans to make the Doritos ads for the Super Bowl.  They get a great showing every year for the competition, getting thousands of entries every year.  The winner of the competition always wins a great prize as well.

This year, the winner got $1,000,000 and got to help work on a D.C. Comics project with Warner Brothers.  Every year during the Super Bowl, the Doritos commercials are almost always in the debate for best commercial.  Their creativity is second to none and how could that be matched?  Doritos gets thousands of people’s ideas and gets to choose the best one.

The production quality of these commercials has gotten better and better throughout the year.  If you compare the 2006 winner in the first year, to this year’s finals winner, you can really tell the difference in overall quality.  This campaign has done a great job of making a name for the classic snack and really makes the advertisements that everybody wonders “what’s coming this year” in the Super Bowl ads.

Overall Doritos has done a great job in the field of participatory marketing and I expect to see more and more companies reaching out to their consumers to try and include them in some of the decisions they make about different products.

Elliott Eggleston

All-Female Ghostbusters Will Undermine Strict Documentary-Style Realism of the Originals

1984 was a good year for oddball science professors everywhere, the year it became socially acceptable to yell, “Who you gonna call?” to complete strangers, the year Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, Ernie Hudson and Bill Murray dropped a highly anticipated and classic American film.

Flash forward to 2016 when the remake of this American classic is not so highly anticipated. The news of an all-female Ghostbusters remake has been met with an onslaught of heated fans of the original. People have brought up many reasons why this film will be a flop including: movie reboots are mostly awful, it’s exploiting the Ghostbusters legacy, and simply ‘Melissa McCarthy.’

GhostbustersCritics are also worried about the deliberate gender-bending in this film. Fans of the 1984 classic got to ogle at a stunning Sigourney Weaver. However, not only are the main four protagonists gender adverse, we have recently seen a release of Chris Hemsworth, rumored to be playing our nerdy, sexy secretary.

Ghostbusters Sigourney Weaver    Ghostbusters Chris Hemsworth

There are two ways to gender-bend an existing franchise. You can change the gender of the characters but fundamentally nothing else about the film, arguing that men and women are fundamentally similar. Or you can use a gender change to nudge other elements of the story, exploring the fact that maybe men and women are fundamentally different while retaining equally useful strengths and insights.

It is incredibly interesting to look at the marketing for this film. It has a set release date of July 15, 2016 and there still hasn’t been a trailer released. The simple fact that it has so much controversy behind it has catapulted it to the front of everyone’s mind when they think of the summer 2016 box office.

Data has been released comparing the box-office success of movies about women versus movies about men revealing female-led movies not only make money, but make more money than male-driven ones.

Ghostbusters Yearly Box OfficeA common misconception about female driven movies is that men can’t relate to a female protagonist so they won’t pay money to see the movie. However, Mic looked at the top 25 highest-earning films each year from 2006 to mid-October 2015 and concluded that hits with female protagonists grossed an average of $126.1 million, whereas hits with male protagonists made an average of $80.6 million.

With the release of the movie being more than 6 months away, it will be interesting to see how the franchise deals with the release of children’s toys. In 1984, action figures of the protagonists as well as toy proton packs were very popular.

Ghostbusters Lego Toys  Ghostbusters toys

This year, Lego released LEGO minifigures for the all-new, all-female Ghostbusters. The new Ghostbusters set recreates all the main characters and their gear in glorious detail, including the signature ECTO-1 car and an ECTO-2 motorbike.

Ghostbusters Lego TweetIt is ironic that recent years have shared such contradictory themes as political correctness and blatant sexism.  Is female Thor really necessary? Is Amy Schumer hot enough to have her own tv show? Every male-driven comedy is met with acceptance while female-driven comedy needs an active defense in their marketing in order to become successful.

Mackenzi Brophy