Crispy Gamer

A Lesson in Marketing

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Well, because I’ve apparently been under a rock for the past few weeks, I guess I’m the only one online surprised by the Halo: Reach live action trailer, “Birth of a Spartan.” I’m not the biggest Halo fan, but I admit, I’ve always had a thing for Bungie’s trailers. They really know how to throw together these great short films that compulsively make me throw money at the screen. Though not as intense as its predecessors, “Birth of a Spartan” carries this great weight behind it in its own sobering way. So, in the midst of this fanboy-hot-flash, I thought we’d look through some marketing at its best.

“Believe” trailer:

This trailer was among the first of its kind. Moving away from the usual montage of expensive writing cutting away to milliseconds of gameplay, trailer filler, and cut scenes, all lorded over by the moviefone guy, this trailer didn’t even use CGI or dialog. With an incredibly crafted diorama, “Believe” captures the intensity of battle in a very succinct manner. It’s all in the detailing of marines struggling and despairing and the Covenant’s glee and veracity that we get a cross section of what’s at stake. That message just carries all the more weight in that all those states are frozen. It also gives a sense for the Human-Covenant war on all scales.

Halo 3: ODST live action trailer:

After first watching this, I shaved my head and was ready to enlist anywhere. This is one of my all-time favorite commercials (you know because everyone keeps a list). Its intensity is absolutely captivating, especially so because it was grounded in a very real context for the first part of the trailer. It’s incredible to see the progression from perturbed civilian, to worn veteran in the face of one ODST, and really speaks to the theme of cyclical legacy. Anytime I see this trailer, I feel guilty about lying around on a couch while there’s a space war going on.

“Birth of a Spartan:”

It’s quiet, but momentous. The hell of battle isn’t present, but all the same, you know this is the antecedent to a roiling surge, and you feel it. When a Spartan’s challenges start even before the first Pelican breaks atmosphere, you know that what is to come is going to be big, and is probably going to involve a lot of explosions.

“Birth of a Spartan” was provided to us by M80, a social marketing group affiliated with Microsoft.