Further analysis, following on from this story here.
If you were marketing this game you could spend, say, £200,000 getting David Hockney to do the box art or you could spend the same money on Tera Patrick being a “Special Producer” and both would get you masses of worldwide publicity. But that publicity would reach different audiences. And which audience would be most likely to buy Saint’s Row 2?
There have been a lot of people getting morally outraged about this and saying that it lowers the tone of the industry and causes damage to our image. This is utter rubbish. Jenna Jameson wrote a book “”How to Make Love Like a Porn Star” and Heather Hunter wrote “Insatiable: The Rise of a Porn Star” , did this damage the book industry? And when porn star (Party at Kitty and Stud’s) Sylvester Stallone started making box office films did it damage the Hollywood movie industry? Of course not.
The fact is that the big global entertainment media such as books, films, and, yes, games are big and diverse enough to handle an almost infinite range of ideas and content. So anyone who says that Tera Patrick is demeaning or damaging the game industry are in fact doing exactly that themselves. They are saying that gaming should some how limit and restrict itself creatively. That we can’t go where books and film go.
My position is that we should welcome this whole Tera Patrick event. It shows that the industry is growing up and looking at broader horizons. It shows that we are trying to be inclusive and reach out to wider demographics. And it shows that the narrow minded traditionalists and self righteous moralisers are being left behind. Which is what we need if we are to develop, go forward and realise our potential as an industry.
Some people forget that we are entertainment. And part of entertainment is to titillate. This is a standard element in books, television and film. If they can titillate then why can’t games? Also some people forget that we are in this business to sell games. If just about every other business in the world uses sex to sell things, then why can’t we?
So, to Tera Patrick:
1) She is is a bright, well educated lady.
2) She owns her own film production company.
3) She has a lot of experience directing and producing films.
4) She has been involved in two game development projects already, this is her third.
5) She is a keen gamer, with a good knowledge of gaming.
6) She has a very high media profile globally.
7) The core demographic of her fanbase is a close fit to the core demographic for the game.
8 There are many opportunities for cross promotions between the two brands.
9) She has been masthead publisher of Genesis magazine since 2003 so has a lot of experience of brand co-operation.
10) She has considerable potential to add value to both the game development and the game publishing side of the project.
The people at Volition have a creative problem here in that Tera Patrick is almost too good. The possibilities and potential of what to do with her in the production and marketing of the game are almost infinite. So bolting down exactly how to pitch the whole thing is a matter for some very good judgement. They could be too tacky. Or they could be too highbrow. What is needed is something in between. And the first video seems very well judged. It is obviously very, very tongue in cheek and thus quite funny, self deprecating humour that is taking a tilt at the stereotype. It is being watched by an immense audience of potential customers. And it gets the features of the game over superbly well with some great in game action sequences.
The video has had an enormous marketing impact. Just type “Saints Row 2 tera patrick dev diaries” into Google to get some idea of the immense reach and impact this video has had in just a few days. And as it is the first of a series, the cumulative effect will be immense. You have to take your hat off to the marketing guys behind this, the game is going to sell like crazy.