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Valve Skipping Ad Agencies With Portal 2

Valve Software's marketing VP Doug Lombardi recently told MCV that the studio plans to do its own marketing for Portal 2 rather than hire an external ad agency. After all, no one knows how to market a game better than the studio who created it, right? Everything else submitted by creative agencies over the past few years have been "pretty close to worthless."

"We’ve had many creative kick-off meetings with agencies over the years, and you’d be shocked by the treatments that have come back," he admitted. "Copycat treatments. Cliché treatments. Treatments that reveal the agency wasn’t listening in the initial meeting."

In many cases, it could be merely a conflict of interpretation. External ad agencies are comprised of illustrators, graphic designers, photographers and other "artists" who spend their day-to-day work hours promoting numerous products and services, and thus use their marketing expertise to submit an ad campaign based on the customer's needs and feedback. Disconnected, they may just not get the "feel" of the product.

Valve, on the other hand, is also comprised of digital and traditional artists who do have a feeling for what they have created. It also make sense that these same artists tap into the soul of the game's overall development and conjure up the perfect ad campaign. It wouldn't be surprising if additional game studios begin to follow suit. However, many developers simply may not have the time. Many big-name publishers do their own advertising in-house.

According to Lombardi, the team spent a good eight straight weeks making its new TV ad for the upcoming game. Previously the team generated a series of successful Valentine's Day-themed online videos which ran back in February.

"With the Portal 2 ad, we play-tested it and were able to make changes during production," he added. "With an agency, those types of tests are too often left to a post-mortem – at which point, the value of those realizations is pretty close to worthless."

MCV said that Valve's TV commercial will be complimented by banners mounted on buses and train station walls in the UK. So far Lombardi hasn't indicated as to what depth the studio plans to advertise here in the States.

Portal 2 is slated to arrive on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Windows PC on April 19, 2011.

  • jibbs
    Smart choice. Specially since they don't need much. Anybody who played the first one is sure to buy the second.
    Reply
  • killerclick
    I hope the game fails miserably. Stupid devs, having them make advertising is like having a movie director make games - won't work.
    Reply
  • Efrayim
    killerclickI hope the game fails miserably. Stupid devs, having them make advertising is like having a movie director make games - won't work.Troll much?
    Reply
  • Very Good Choice, amount of money saved and value gained wont compare to any add agency
    Reply
  • rubix_1011
    The game has pretty much sold itself already.

    The rest is simply bonus sales.
    Reply
  • RADIO_ACTIVE
    Gameplay footage with a sick sound track how hard can it be... then develop flash ads for gaming and tech sites... like said before, the game has really sold itself, I have yet to play a game like the first portal and will probably buy the second.
    Reply
  • Mottamort
    Games have adverts? I cannot think I've ever seen one (besides on websites..and that was before I installed adblock :P)

    Granted I don't live in the US, so maybe they aren't global ad's :)
    Reply
  • eklipz330
    killerclickI hope the game fails miserably. Stupid devs, having them make advertising is like having a movie director make games - won't work.TH gotta get those TD to work properly again
    Reply
  • Not buying another valve game until Half life 2 episode 3 is released...a promise is a promise.
    Reply
  • codeman03xx
    Come on people Portal was a terrible game. Ive had better puzzle solving stuff in Tomb raider and half-life 1. LOL. Will not be buying portal two 1 was a waste of time. MAKE HALF-LIFE 3 already.
    Reply