McCann takes Xbox business

Microsoft has moved its £60m pan-European advertising business for its Xbox games console out of Bartle Bogle Hegarty (BBH), placing the business with McCann-Erickson, which handled the business in all other markets.

BBH has held the business since the games console’s launch at the beginning of last year, and the agency created the advertising tagline: “Play more” (MW March 14, 2002).

In April, Microsoft lowered the price of its Xbox to £129.99, matching the price of Nintendo’s GameCube (MW April 17). The move was the third price cut in just over a year, and was part of the console’s battle to keep its slim hold on the number two market position behind Sony’s PlayStation 2.

The Xbox was launched at £299 in March 2002, the first price cut, of £100, came a month later and was followed by another, in September, which saw its price fall to about £160.

BBH created an ad that was banned after the Independent Television Commission received 136 complaints from viewers who found it “offensive, shocking and in bad taste” (MW June 6, 2002).

The ad began with a woman giving birth to a baby boy who shot out of a window and aged rapidly as he travelled through the air screaming. The end of the ad depicted him violently crashing into his own grave. The ad ended with the tagline: “Life is short. Play more.”

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