Eidos is doubling 1997 ad spending to support eight PC titles and four console games. Tomb Raider 3, projected by some to sell 3 million units for PC and PlayStation -- more than the first two versions combined -- will get the biggest push.
Its Nov. 20 launch will be supported by network TV and a 10-city outdoor campaign.
Winkler Advertising, San Francisco, handles; Eidos' 1998 ad budget is estimated at $5 million.
Tomb Raider's cool, pistol-packing heroine is Lara Croft, who emerged in the past year as a cyberspace media darling -- covered by Time and Details, endorsed by rockers U2 and licensed by Paramount Pictures for a movie.
Paul Baldwin, Eidos' VP-marketing, said Paramount and Eidos could begin touting the film in teaser ads this fall tied to the launch of Tomb Raider 3 if the studio approves a script in June.
A book about the Lara Croft phenomenon will be published by Prima Publishing this summer. Top Cow Comics also is coming out with a comic book. Eidos is shopping for a master toy licensee.
More and more, videogame marketers are trying to turn their game characters into franchises. Nintendo has done this for more than a decade. One major challenge is the lag time between the peak popularity of a videogame and the arrival of its spin-off products.
"If you're going to make a movie, you have to move quickly, because in the videogame market, kids quickly move on to new things," said David Hodgson, editorial director for Gamers Republic.