Sega is set to return to WCRS, the agency which launched the famous
Sega Megadrive in the early 90s, as it prepares to put pounds 60 million
behind a pan-European marketing campaign for its new Dreamcast games
The company is understood to have chosen WCRS after a pitch also
involving M&C Saatchi, Bartle Bogle Hegarty, McCann-Erickson’s Magic Hat
and Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe.
Sega, which has lost ground in the games market during the second half
of this decade, is banking on the new 128-bit console to topple Sony’s
PlayStation from its dominant position. PlayStation outsold Sega’s
Saturn console nine times in the run-up to last Christmas - Sony’s best
ever performance in the UK.
But Sega hopes to steal a march with Dreamcast, which launches in Europe
this September. Sony is not due to launch its rival new generation
console, PlayStation 2, until autumn 2000, giving Sega a full year to
win consumers over to a product that will be faster and more powerful
than anything else on the market.
A good part of the pounds 60 million marketing budget will be devoted to
an advertising blitz by WCRS, although the exact split between above-
and below-the-line activities has not been confirmed.
A Sega spokesman maintained that no decision had yet been made on the
account, and Stephen Woodford, the chief executive of WCRS who led the
pitch, was not available for comment. However, it is understood that a
decision has been taken in principle and an announcement will be made
The pitch was the brainchild of Jean Francois Cecillon, who joined Sega
as chief executive late last year from EMI Records. A decision on which
company will handle media buying is also due shortly.
A head-to-head pitch between Carat and Initiative had still not produced
a winner by the time Campaign went to press. Sega has supported no major
advertising since a campaign through McCann-Erickson to launch its
Saturn console in 1995.
WCRS handled the account from 1990 to 1994. It launched Megadrive with
the line: ’To be this good takes ages, to be this good takes Sega.’ The
campaign helped make Sega the market leader.