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August 9, 2007

Get ready for 'Halo 3' marketing blitz

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano at 8:20 AM

Clear the streets. The "Halo 3" parade is beginning.

Microsoft today announced that the third installment of its hit video-game series, due out Sept. 25, has already sold more than 1 million preorder copies.

Brier Dudley explored just how important the success of "Halo 3" is to Microsoft in his column Monday.

Now comes the marketing effort that underscores that importance. In addition to the preorder "news," Microsoft lifted the lid on its marketing plans for the game, and the "Halo 3" branded Xbox 360 is just the beginning. Think major motion picture, Microsoft says.

The company is doing promotional deals with consumer brands that it says set a precedent in video-game marketing.

Mountain Dew is rolling out the first beverage co-branded with a video game, Mountain Dew Game Fuel, which boasts an "invigorating blast of citrus cherry flavor and added caffeine for maximum intensity." (Warning: Do not pour beverage into Xbox 360, it will not improve performance.)

Should you choose to leave your Xbox 360 for long enough to hit up 7-Eleven, treat your "Halo 3" withdrawal tremors with "Halo 3" Slurpee cups and other in-store promotions.

If you need a new car, Pontiac would like you to come down to select showrooms where you can play the game before it's released. And 1,000 people who buy a G6 GXP Street will get a copy of the game. (This seems like a promotion that might be a better fit with "Grand Theft Auto." Then again, maybe not.)

Burger King, which has successfully partnered with the Xbox 360 in the past, will plaster the "Halo 3" marketing materials on its giant cups of pop and French fry containers. (They're called FRYPODS. Does Steve Jobs know about this?)

Comcast is also getting into the act with user-generated content and video downloads related to the game.

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