Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Video Gamers! You are officially adults now!

Over the weekend was a link to an article about a Progressive Insurance commercial with the headline, "Sonic Sells Out."  If you haven't seen the commercial yet, take a look.

No mistaking it, that's Sonic the Hedgehog in a Progressive Insurance commercial.  I decide to dig around the interwebs to see the overall mood.  It's a mixed bag.  Some folks like it and think it's "neat," but most hate it.  They can't believe that "SEGA is using Sonic to sell car insurance."

Well kids, I hate to break it too you, are the grown-ups now.  Yes it's true.  You are adults and you still play videogames.  Studies have shown the average video gamers are in their 30s.  Madison Avenue Executives know this too, they commission all sorts of studies and surveys.  They have to know the market they are going to sell a product to.  They know video gamers are adults with adult needs such as car insurance.

I went through this myself when music I listened to in high school started becoming commercial jingles.  I'm not talking about top 40 pop either, advertisers eat that pap up daily for quick sales.  Top 40 is tailor made for sales; catchy, saccharine, and disposable.  No I'm talking about Ozzy Osbourne and Judas Priest, music that isn't really "mainstream."  Yet there it was, on my TV, selling cars.

Not to mention even more recent commercials.

 The last one strikes me as the funniest since in the 80s they tried to brand metal as an "evil, corrupting, influence on young people."  Now Ozzy is practically as family friendly as Barney.

Some of you might be saying, "Yeah, but Sonic?"  Hey when you were a kid Sonic and Mario shilled sugar-filled cereal to you and you wanted it then.  Nary a hint or cry of "sellout" then.  You got the cereal then, Madison Avenue thinks you'll buy the insurance now.  My bet is an advertising company representing Progressive asked SEGA to use Sonic.  Considering the costs these days to make a video game, SEGA I am sure had no problem.  So don't blame SEGA.

If you think it's bad now, think about when you hit retirement age.  I shudder to think what 80s heavy metal song will be used to sell Depends.


  1. Well said. Especially since it's not like Sonic is the flagship property it was back in the day. Anything to bring in the coin and keep the character relevant is good for SEGA.