Sega hands WCRS pounds 60m Dreamcast

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 console.

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

console.



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

next week.



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.



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