If you take in any kind of media, you've almost surely noticed the blitzkrieg of a marketing push Halo 3 has received in recent weeks. But for months upon months now, something more heralding has been afoot, all leading up to what will almost surely be the biggest game launch ever in Halo 3. Did anyone really believe that the beta was to find bugs in the code? Just another part of Microsoft and Bungie's 5 pronged attack plan to make sure you pick up Halo 3 on day one.
Things officially kicked off last December with the premier of the "Starry Night" commercial, seen by almost 8 million households during Monday Night Football. The commercial showed us absolutely nothing, and yet got my blood boiling with anticipation, mostly due to the amazing musical score always present during anything and everything Halo. In reality we did get a glimpse as one of the coming additions in a gadget that would provide Master Chief with a protective shield. Most importantly though, it started the hype wagon and got people talking about Halo 3.
The second step in their campaign was the Halo 3 beta. Giving over 800,000 Xbox Live members the chance to experience the multiplayer firsthand (even if for the majority that involved the purchase of Crackdown). This was the point when things really began, with people finally able to experience the game and see if it was worthy of all the fuss, or just a new coat of paint on Halo 2. This writer found every tweak and addition to be perfect, but you can judge that for yourself in the coming weeks.
Next up was the viral campaign titled "Project Iris." Referred to by Microsoft as a "spiral campaign," which began with fliers distributed in New York and London bearing the campaign's name and the message "we are not alone." The campaign is similar to "ilovebees" which lead up to Halo 2, as well as the campaign used for the Xbox 360 launch. A website was launched as well, featuring cryptic information about the characters in the Halo universe not previously known, as well as a countdown clock.
Step four is where things have kicked into overdrive, with the huge use of marketing tie-ins to promote the title. With everything ranging from a Halo 3 branded console, controllers, and a model of the Zune, to promotional containers being used at Burger King for your fries and beverage, and a new variety of Mountain Dew called "gamer fuel" debuting with Master Chief's image across the label, everywhere you look you'll be sure to see Halo 3 in your face. Unlike Halo 2's mostly viral campaign and word-of-mouth approach, Microsoft is taking no chances with even the most casual gamers knowing Halo 3 is arriving, and ready to kick some butt.
The final step in the huge marketing push is entitled "believe," featuring a 90-second television ad depicting a battlefield with a fight seemingly lost, and a quick glimpse of Master Chief appearing prepared to continue to fight, followed simply by the word "believe." This step is accompanied by a series of launch events in major cities meant to ensure maximum exposure and media coverage of this event, and a promotion giving free Xbox Live goal for a short period to everyone during the days following the launch. All that's left now is for Microsoft and Bungie to kick the baby from the nest and see if it can fly. There's not a doubt in this writer's mind that this one is going to soar.
CCC Freelance Writer