CAMPAIGNS: JUDGE AND JURY; Segaworld hyped for the best, but failed to deliver

The hype surrounding Sega’s newest amusement centre made extravagant promises that may prove difficult to live up to, says Jackie Elliot, chief executive of Manning Selvage and Lee

The hype surrounding Sega’s newest amusement centre made extravagant

promises that may prove difficult to live up to, says Jackie Elliot,

chief executive of Manning Selvage and Lee



I’ve viewed the arrival of Segaworld from two entirely different

perspectives.



In the office, we felt that its virtual reality solitary play promise

contrasted poorly with the family values of more traditional theme

parks- interact with yourself as opposed to with your family, I suppose.



At home, however, my 14-year-old (brought up on Nintendo but prepared to

switch) having established that the existing Virtual World would remain

- but regretting the departure of Quasar and Alien Wars- sat back and

waited for the Trocadero to deliver the Sonic goods.



We haven’t been there - Judge and Jury demands a verdict on the PR

achievements of the launch not on the site itself. I noticed the Daily

Telegraph’s ticket promo - tch, tch - why should there be a need for

discounts and giveaways for something supposedly so new and exciting?

And the hedgehog everywhere - an 1980s mascot which kept reminding me of

the troubles both the games giants are having as PCs and Playstations

become the 1990s must-haves.



They did a good job with the publicity, though, achieving very good

press. I caught some television and I expect kids’ media had much more.

But I was left feeling like it was all a giant arcade - that you might

have more fun just riding the escalator.



Close examination of the press reveals a weary welcome and some

scepticism. It will be a success - its position and its promise will

outweigh its reality. But could its public relations strategy have

delivered a more generous endorsement? If you make claims to be the

‘most sensational new tourist attraction in the world’ - as this client

did, presumably on advice, you are asking for a sock in the jaw from the

press. You can remain unbruised if your virtual matches your reality. In

this case, it seems it did not.



It’s big, it’s fun, it’s a different version of what you can do at home

or in arcades, but its over-promise has disappointed. I’d put that down

to the sort of PR approach that lives on ink but quite forgets that

publicity is supposed to make a difference, to have some meaning other

than just appearing as a page in a clip book.



The half term test looms - will I be queuing? Not on current demand -

nothing has happened to shake the Mario Brothers from prime position in

the Elliot household.



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