Having been making video game trailers for some twenty years now, Maverick has always tried hard to make advertising that is genuinely enjoyed and appreciated by its audience and we always get a nice warm feeling inside every time someone remarks, “wow, Maverick make that Crysis 2, Alien Isolation, WarHammer, Rainbow Six, Pokemon Trailer”. But popular as our work is, it’s quite rare for someone to like a piece so much they track down who made it, research and find us and get on the phone or email and ask us questions about it. It’s especially rare when that piece of work is a trailer made twenty years ago when that person watched it on a VHS tape and they liked it so much they were minded to get in touch!
Over the last 10 years or so we started to notice we have been getting least one or two phone calls a year enquiring about two such trailers from the Ol’ Skool days; “Blown Away” and “Symbols”. Commissioned by pioneering marketeers Geoff Glendenning and Alan Welsman while at the helm of PlayStation’s European Marketing, both were to advertise the PS1 product line up and deliver on the PlayStation brand message; “Don’t Underestimate the Power” and the “Symbols of Control”. In 1997 the method of distribution of this kind of games advertising content was via individual VHS tape (CD-ROM if you were really teched-up) which while ubiquitous at the time, over the years many cherished copies have got wrapped around the play heads and now original copies are now something of a rarity, perhaps even sought after. Which is why we were delighted when we heard from Chris Scullion (Tired Old Hack) last month and learned about the work he is doing in preserving content like this, adding these trailers to his VHS Preservation Project.
We’re delighted that our trailers are being preserved – for aficionados of 90’s games there’s much to be gleaned from watching this material, it’s a great snapshot of PlayStation advertising from a time when trailers were fresh and unique and set out to break the rules. Of course Maverick was really proud of these trailers at the time (we loved the style, score, epic length and inspiring brief) but with no internet, data or measurement it’s only now that we’re really getting a sense of how much of an impact they had with their audience and the affection and nostalgia people have for them. And now, as the focus of trailers and advertising has moved to short formats with real time data, feedback and metrics built in it’s intriguing to wonder how these Ol’ Skool long form trailers would perform for today’s audiences – one thing for sure though, in another twenty years we don’t expect to see audiences looking back with the same affection for the 6 sec video pre-rolls trailers of 2017!
Enjoy Chris’ article and watch Symbols, including one where he’s added some Commentary here – and let us know if you think Maverick should post some of our games trailers from our 90’s archive.