Eidos Turns to Mail to Sell Tomb Raider Video Game

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Eidos Interactive, San Francisco, is in the middle of its largest fully integrated marketing campaign for its most anticipated video game of the year, Tomb Raider III.

The push for Tomb Raider III, which hit stores Nov. 21 and features lead character Lara Croft, began in August with a number of television commercials. But the direct mail campaign didn't begin until this month. Eidos, an interactive entertainment developer, expects to sell more than 1.5 million copies of the game.

Two different mail pieces were sent. The purpose of the first piece was to attract and maintain interest in the game; the second piece was a call-to-action with a special offer.

"For both mailings, we sent out more than 150,000 pieces each," said Gary Keith, director of marketing communications. "We used the first one in September as a teaser. In the second one, we put in an offer where people could receive free stuff if they went ahead and pre-ordered the game at participating retailers."

Respondents were able to receive free T-shirts, temporary tattoos and strategy guides by pre-ordering the game at retail locations such as Funcoland, Electronic Boutique, Babbages, Comp USA and Software etc.

Aside from the size of this campaign, Keith said the other difference between this campaign and previous ones is the appeal Eidos is making to the mainstream audience.

"We want to continue to market to our hard-core gamers, but we know they are going to buy the game anyway," he said. "What helps to make a product big is the mainstream push. There are certain people who go out and only buy one game a year, and this is how we get in contact with them."

TV spots are appearing on NBC, Fox, WB, ESPN and MTV. The outdoor promotions include wrap-around posters on buses, billboards and 60-foot tall wall paintings of Lara Croft. Print ads and an "extensive tip book" will appear in Electronic Gaming Monthly, Game Pro, Computer Gaming Weekly, Gamer, Spin, Details and Play Station Magazine.

"We are targeting gamers everywhere," Keith said. "We want to try and reach as many as possible."

Keith would not disclose the exact amount of the campaign but described it as a "multimillion-dollar marketing push."

Eidos also will be doing online advertising with banner and button ads on Gamespot, GameCenter and The Imagine Games Network.

Tomb Raider is available only for Sony PlayStation and PCs. According to Keith, there is a worldwide target audience of 9 million people who either have the system or play the game on a PC. The first two versions of Tomb Raider sold more than 9 million copies combined.

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