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SAM GOLDBERG MORTAL KOMBAT

By Published on .

On September 13, 1993, millions of young videogame enthusiasts around the world arose knowing "Mortal Monday" had dawned.

After an integrated marketing and promotional buildup that lasted several months, videogame software developer Acclaim Entertainment that day released its long-awaited title, "Mortal Kombat."

Within eight weeks, a record 3 million copies of the $59 "Mortal Kombat" were bought, making it the best-selling videogame title of all time.

Acclaim VP-Marketing Sam Goldberg, 45, says the home version of the martial arts fighting game was a guaranteed success due to its popularity in videogame arcades. But it was Acclaim's carefully plotted event-and-integrated marketing blitz that helped push the game.

"Realizing there was great anticipation for the game, we decided to create an event awareness around the home version, just like a blockbuster movie opening," says Mr. Goldberg, who led the marketing effort in collaboration with agency RDA International, New York.

The effort included teasing "Mortal Monday" in videogame magazine ads, a sweepstakes and poster, trading cards and game-play tip giveaways.

The most unusual marketing ploy was a 45-second, cinematic-style commercial for "Mortal Kombat" that broke in theaters in August, an industry first, followed by a $10 million TV campaign.

"We used a grass-roots marketing approach to build interest at all levels for the game," Mr. Goldberg says.

The strategy worked so well sales momentum continued through Christmas, and by mid-1994 a total of 5 million copies of "Mortal Kombat" have sold.

"We hope to do it again with another title someday, if we're lucky. But it's hit or miss, in what's increasingly become a hits-driven business," he says.

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