in the year 2003 sega launched a brilliant viral marketing campaign called “beta-7” for their new nfl footbal game. a guy called “beta-7” (one of the sega betatesters) reported in his blog about his experiences and consequences of playing their new football game in first-person perspective: he was tackling his collegues at the job, having blackouts and so on … his website/blog should warn other betatesters and described his fight against sega.
“the story appears to be a war between the happy, shiny sega people, who want to enrich the world with their new “first-person football” feature, aka “crash-cam,” on their latest espn football game, and a shady guy named “beta-7,” who claims sega hired him as a game tester. shortly thereafter, beta-7 says in his web journal, he started to suffer from freakish symptoms, including an uncontrollable urge to tackle people. […]
disguised as one man’s anti-sega crusade, it was in fact a marketing machine run with military precision and swiss-like timing. the project involved three web sites (the original, with posts from the campaign’s 24-hour-a-day protagonist, and the two real fan sites that sprung up), viral videos and voicemails, big-time commercials that aired on cable networks, tiny classified ads in places like the onion, “physical stunting,” chat rooms, mail (beta copies of the game were sent to a few testers, then bogus legal letters demanded them back), massive e-mailings and flier distribution.”
and now there is another viral marketing campaign by 2k games called “civilization anonymous” (german equivalent) helping addicted civilization gamers. on their website you can test, if you are at risk of being addicted or you can get in touch with other addicted gamers.
“rumors have begun to circulate that the newest edition of the “one more turn” franchise is on its way. stay away from this game at all costs. you will likely be powerless to its extreme addictive properties once exposed. if you are having civ ‘urges’, call your civanon sponsor immediately. if you are not already a member, contact your local civanon chapter for help.
the website was launched just before the release of sid meier’s civilization IV in november 2005. they made their experiences in 2003 and do now their next viral website in 2005. the beta-7 campaign caused a lot of attention in the media and we will put an eye on the development of this campaign.