Advertisements

Tag Archive: brilliant marketing campaigns


Sometimes the marketeers get everything exactly right (one of our favorites is still that Coma ad pack we received 7 years ago).  And that goes for a new roleplaying game from Wendy’s.  Yep, that’s right, a fully fleshed-out roleplaying game from everyone’s favorite fast food restaurant that serves Frostys.  And best of all, it’s free (you can download the entire 97-page rulebook and campaign guide below).  Not only is it capitalizing (“capital” as in in-your-face, unapologetic commercialism) on the recent wave of interest in Dungeons & Dragons that was re-kindled by Stranger Things, the new roleplaying game Feast of Legends will probably divert at least a few groups of Wednesday night gamers to join in on a fun (and humorous) new adventure.

Feast of Legends is another good introduction to roleplaying games and springboard to the real deal.  It includes a Rule Book and Game Master’s Guide with five campaigns to be led by your designated Game Master: Take on The Queen’s Quest, Trouble at Frosty Canyon, Lighting of the Bacon Beacon, The Biggie Vale, and The Deep Freeze, plus there’s a chapter on expansion play.  Make your own character, join one of the 14 orders, or use pre-designed character sheets via a “quick start guide” to get on your way, with instructions on how to do so.  This isn’t your typical throwaway giveaway.  Players have five levels to achieve, and the book has all of the details on gameplay, adventuring, and yes, you will use food, specifically Wendy’s menu items, cleverly incorporated along the way.  One of the underlying themes is Wendy’s advertising fresh meat over frozen, so a key villain here is the Ice Jester–a not-so-subtle jab at Ronald McDonald.  His lair?  A playhouse with tunnels and a colorful ball pit.  Brilliant!  Constable Von Freeze steps in for Mayor McCheese…  Beware the Mimic Meal…  Can you help Queen Wendy, by sneaking into the Deep Freeze and stop the Ice Jester before he can march on Freshtovia and start a new Frozen Age?

Although we wish we could credit by name the Wendy’s inside marketing team that wrote these rules, a big shout-out is owed to Alex Lopez for illustrations that mash-up the visual style from both classic RPG and Wendy’s iconography.  Neither Lopez nor mapmaker Collin Fogel appear to have created illustrations before for D&D producer Wizards of the Coast, but this rule book should help them get their foot in the door (if D&D is really their thing).

Continue reading

Advertisements

Review by C.J. Bunce

It’s as good as it gets for Michael Crichton fans.  Not only is The Andromeda Evolution a new thriller being released more than a decade after the author’s passing, it’s a sequel to a Crichton classic novel–his original science fiction cautionary tale The Andromeda Strain.  Created by writer Daniel H. Wilson (Robopocalypse) in collaboration with Crichton’s estate (CrichtonSun LLC), The Andromeda Evolution is nicely timed to arrive 50 years after The Andromeda Strain was first published, the book that launched Crichton’s fame as master of the technothriller.  The Andromeda Evolution has all the components of Crichton’s best works–the trademark structure of a team of unique experts colliding to prevent catastrophe, the integration of cutting edge science to both inform the reader and carry the plot forward, and the surprising juxtaposition of the improbable and the unimaginable.  And the ripped-from-the-headlines timeliness is eerily creepy–it all begins with a disaster in the heart of the Amazon rainforest, complete with government clashes and misinformation campaigns, and ends with a surprise that will stop you in your tracks.

Nothing defines Crichton’s storytelling as much as his interaction of characters, always an unlikely grouping of personalities that some far-off puppetmaster thinks is the right team to solve problems.  A  mix of the wise, the pragmatic, the cerebral, the sensitive, and the reactionary, common to the Crichton elite team are individuals who must struggle to get along like any group trying to complete a project in the real world.  Everyone has a piece of the puzzle, but can everyone survive long enough to contribute their piece?  In The Andromeda Evolution that first means introducing us to Dr. James Stone, son of The Andromeda Strain bacteriologist Dr. Jeremy Stone.  The son is a late addition to a core unit assigned to investigate and prevent the spread of what appears to be that dreaded, fast-moving viral strain his father faced so many decades ago that almost destroyed Earth.  Haunted by a lifetime of living with the threat of the virus’s return, Stone has acquired expertise under his father’s wing.  With the alert of a new threat, on a moment’s notice he’s dropped at Ground Zero with only hours to collect data with other similar elite minds to try to save the world again.

In The Andromeda Evolution, everything you think you know about the constructs of modern science and technology was a lie, dating back to the original Andromeda Strain virus, documented in Dr. Michael Crichton’s original account (recall Crichton was in medical school when he began his career as author).  Hidden by world governments, never losing ground as the world’s primary threat to security and survival, the Andromeda Strain was real.  NASA, the Center for Disease Control, all the framework for technological initiatives we think about every day from the 1970s forward have been preparing humanity for the return of the dreaded AS-1 and AS-2.  And the biggest secret is staring us all in the face.

Continue reading

By C.J. Bunce

Once in a while I get gifts of food in the mail from nice people.  I’ve received frozen turkeys, frozen cupcakes, frozen brownies, cold-packed chocolates.  Food is good.  Food as gifts from friends is even better.

So today the Fed Ex man delivers an unexpected package to my doorstep:

PERISHABLE, TIME AND TEMPERATURE SENSITIVE, OPEN IMMEDIATELY.  I picked it up.  It was not cold like you’d think something cold-packed would be.  Someone sent me brownies!  But its warm… melted?  Lame.

So I brought it into the house.  And the first instance of creepiness sank in.  It wasn’t brownies.

Jefferson Institute.  Coma Patient Care You Can Trust?  Again… not brownies.  The container in the box had a disturbing shape.  I’d seen these on countless medical shows on TV.  For a second there I was hesitant to pull the container out of the box.  But I did.

At this point I was thinking.  No way.  Ohnotheydidn’t.  Not actually send me a… human organ… but set this whole marketing thing up?  This is bordering on brilliant.  Genius even.  At this point I knew this had to do with the new Coma TV mini-series I’d heard about at Comic-Con and received the strange brochure with a crazy scribbled remark across it:

But again, I was taken aback for a second.  So what the heck is in the container?  Fake heart prop? (Chocolate heart prop?)

The screener!  This has to be the most brilliant screener package ever.  Kudos for the marketing firm that talked someone into this campaign.  Bravo!

So a little background.  Once upon a time there was a movie called Coma.  It starred Genevieve Bujold in arguably her best career performance as a determined but naive doctor who stumbled upon an excessive number of comas resulting from patients having routine surgeries in OR 8 of the hospital she worked in.  Michael Douglas played a doctor she worked with, the great actor Richard Widmark played the evil chief of surgery, and Elizabeth Ashley played the equally vile administrator of a cold, chilling coma patient center called the Jefferson Institute.  And Tom Selleck played one of the poor bastards that ended up dead as a doornail by movie’s end.

The Jefferson Institute stuck with me.  It was the stuff of nightmares.  I will never have surgery in a room called OR 8.  Elizabeth Ashley’s “Mrs. Emerson” was right up there with Margaret Hamilton’s Wicked Witch of the West, only creepier because this was the real-world kind of creepy stuff.  Heck, I once didn’t apply for a job at a company because the offices looked like the Jefferson Institute.

Flash forward to working as managing editor for The Journal of Corporation Law.  We all were a little creeped out by the agreed subject of the annual symposium issue.  It was about the business and future of human organs–redistribution of donor organs and the like:

I remember reading the line above: “Other proposed procurement schemes, however, such as market sales and conscription, either currently are proscribed by law or are likely to encounter significant constitutional impediments.”  Creepy subject.  Reminded me of Coma.  (Insert hair standing up on back of neck here).

Suffice it to say, with my memory of the original series, I am definitely the audience for this marketing campaign.

So yes, of course, coming soon at borg.com, look for a preview of the A&E Network mini-series, Coma, by Ridley and Tony Scott, based on Robin Cook’s novel and Michael Crichton’s screenplay for the original movie Coma, with big name actors like Richard Dreyfuss (Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind), Geena Davis (Beetlejuice, The Fly, Fletch), Ellen Burstyn (Poliitcal Animals, The Exorcist, Into Thin Air) as Mrs. Emerson, James Rebhorn (White Collar), and James Woods (John Carpenter’s Vampires), starring Lauren Ambrose (Law and Order, Torchwood), Steven Pasquale (Rescue Me), Joseph Mazzello (Jurassic Park, G.I. Joe: Retaliation) and Michael Weston (House, M.D.).

Meanwhile, check out comaconspiracy.com and jeffersoninstitute.com for some cool tie-ins.

Apparently now you can get your own transplant container here at Amazon.