Behold this ad for Blur, the badass racing video game that tried to make a name for itself by taking a thinly veiled swipe at the “lame” Super Mario Kart series by proclaiming “Race Like a Big Boy”, as if to say, “We’re the mature alternative to Mario Kart”, meant to appeal to the type that think being “edgy” and “X-TREME!!!” equal being mature. Basically, an insecure juvenile’s idea of maturity.
Fast-forward to now, where the Mario Kart titles continue to sell millions of copies, whereas most people have completely forgotten about Blur. The irony here is obvious: many people who viewed this spot said they’d rather play the cutesy, squeaky-clean parody game in this spot than the actual game it was advertising, plus the ad managed to tick off a lot of Mario Kart fans, not a good idea if you want them to try your game. (BTW, anybody who thinks that Mario Kart is “about making friends” has clearly never played the game; one well-placed blue tortoise shell or lightning bolt could cause a severe rift between players, if anything Mario Kart could end a friendship as easily as it could perpetuate one.)
The same fate befell game mascots Croc…
…And Ty the Tasmanian Tiger…
…Both of whom attacked other, more popular game mascots in their ads, only to promptly vanish into obscurity.
What’s the lesson to be learned here? If you want your potential video game franchise to be long running and successful, then don’t attempt to slam other games in your ads. That only worked for Sonic the Hedgehog, and look at him now. Better yet, look at him 15 years ago.
If you try to put yourself over other games, you’ll end up harder to find than this guy: