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.