Author Clancy delves into multimedia

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Red Storm Entertainment, the multimedia software company started by best-selling author Tom Clancy, will kick off a $4 million ad push next month supporting a PC game based on the author's forthcoming novel "Rainbow Six."

This game is the first to be based on a hardcover novel by the author. The book arrives Aug. 3; the game Aug. 27.

Rainbow Six is the first title from Red Storm to be backed by national TV advertising and only the second published by the fledgling company. The first, Tom Clancy's Politika, inspired by a mass-market paperback written by the author, didn't impress the industry, but Rainbow Six is getting good buzz.

Rainbow Six also represents an important marketing initiative for the author himself.

"The Tom Clancy reader tends to be a little older. We feel we can introduce Tom Clancy to a younger reader through this game and really build his readership for the future," said Red Storm's Dick Wnuk, VP-sales and marketing.

"Rainbow Six" is about an elite multinational force combating terrorism. Jack Ryan, hero of many Clancy novels, doesn't appear.


The TV spot, created by Roak, Pirsig, Dobi, Chicago, emphasizes the game's ambition to be as realistic as possible by cross-cutting film of a SWAT team in action with content from the game.

The commercial breaks Aug. 20 and will run for three weeks, airing on national cable--FX, Sci-Fi Channel, Comedy Central, ESPN2 and USA Network--and on broadcast outlets in the top 15 markets.

Marketers of PC games don't often use TV advertising because the base of potential buyers who own the hardware on which to play the games isn't large enough yet, although that's changing.

Red Storm wants to make a splash. "With our mass-market TV advertising, we're going after the consumer who only buys a few games a year, and we want Rainbow Six to be one of them," said Mr. Wnuk.


The spot will be tagged with a plug for the Putnam Publishing novel. Putnam's ads will be tagged with a mention of the game.

Red Storm has been courting hard-core gamers this summer with teaser ads in videogame magazines. In July, it gave an exclusive preview of the game to PC Gamer and let it publish the first chapter of the book.

A larger print campaign runs through the fall.

Other marketing efforts include point-of-purchase displays and 500,000 PC demo disks polybagged in upcoming issues of PC Gamer, Computer Gaming World and Strategy Plus.

Copyright July 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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