Modern Warfare 2 to be "biggest entertainment launch ever" - Activision

Megapublisher tasks high-powered ad agency to top Grand Theft Auto IV's day-one sales total of 3.6 million units and $310 million.

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"What would Don Draper do?"

That's probably a question being asked in the Los Angeles offices of TBWA/Chiat/Day, the global ad agency that has been retained by Activision. According to the online edition of Advertising Age, the company has been given a task worthy of the Mad Men fictional marketing master--making the November 10 launch of Modern Warfare 2 the "biggest entertainment launch of all time."

Ad campaign or not, gamers in colder climes will brave rain, sleet, and snow to get Modern Warfare 2 on November 10.
Ad campaign or not, gamers in colder climes will brave rain, sleet, and snow to get Modern Warfare 2 on November 10.

"We believe the idea that TBWA presented to us delivers on that goal," Activision chief creative officer Brad Jakeman told the magazine. "What we liked most about the TBWA campaign is that it's an idea that's big enough to be articulated in lots of different kind of media...that is always the acid test for a great idea."

The first non-teaser trailers for Modern Warfare 2 had high-profile debuts during the NBA Finals telecasts in May. Besides television, TBWA's marketing campaign is expected to target billboards, print, online outlets, social media, and "out of home advertising," a blanket term that covers billboards, digital displays, and other signage.

According to Advertising Age, Activision is specifically aiming to top the launch of Grand Theft Auto IV, published by rival Take-Two Interactive. That game's global launch on April 29, 2008, saw 3.6 million units of the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 actioner generate $310 million in global sales in 24 hours. That total beat the previous launch-day sales record set by Halo 3 on September 22, 2007, which saw 1.7 million copies of the Xbox 360-exclusive sci-fi shooter bring in over $170 million in revenue.

It's not just Activision that's making bold predictions for Modern Warfare 2. "We believe Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 will likely be the largest video game release for [calendar year] '09," said Janco Partners analyst Mike Hickey in a note last week. He believes that the game will likely sell 11.1 million copies worldwide in less than two months.

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