From Sega Retro
Launching in October 1997 (starting with a television campaign on MTV on the 6th), the campaign was the FCB's first meaningful foray into advertising for Sega, and the last push for the struggling Sega Saturn in North America. Much of what Sega's previous advertising agency, Ingalls Moranville Advertising, was abandoned in favour of something targeted towards "hard core gamers" and nods to the marketing style of Goodby Silverstein & Partners, which had overseen rapid growth of the Sega Mega Drive (Genesis in this region) between 1992 and 1996.
Primarily the Hard Stuff campaign was used to advertise the Winter Sega Saturn schedule, specifically Sonic R, Last Bronx, NBA Action 98, NHL All-Star Hockey 98, World Series Baseball '98 and later Enemy Zero. It was designed to look directly at the video game audience and according to then SoA CEO Bernie Stolar, offer a "wink of humor and a good-hearted jab". Also covered was a second attempt to bring the NetLink system to consumers, and some Saturn games for the first half of 1998; Burning Rangers, The House of the Dead, Shining Force III and Panzer Dragoon Saga.
Advertising was featured in all major PC and video gaming magazines of the era, as in Details, Sports Illustrated, Spin, React, Nickelodeon, Verge, Marvel Comics and Sports Illustrated for Kids. New for Sega was a desire to advertise in "enthusiast" alternative publications, including Bikini, Skateboarding, Snowboarder, Trans World, Thrasher and Raygun.
It is not known if the campaign was a success for Sega, however FCB continued to work as Sega of America's advertising agency into the Sega Dreamcast era, starting with the It's Thinking campaign in 1999.
also published in:
- Electronic Gaming Monthly (US) #99: "October 1997" (1997-xx-xx)
- Press release: 1997-09-29: Sega Goes For The "Hard Stuff" With $25 Million Fall Advertising Campaign
- Electronic Gaming Monthly, "October 1997" (US; 1997-xx-xx), page 14
- Ultra Game Players, "December 1997" (US; 1997-xx-xx), page 54
- Ultra Game Players, "December 1997" (US; 1997-xx-xx), page 50
- Game Informer, "December 1997" (US; 1997-xx-xx), page 64
- Ultra Game Players, "December 1997" (US; 1997-xx-xx), page 52
- Ultra Game Players, "December 1997" (US; 1997-xx-xx), page 67
- Electronic Gaming Monthly, "April 1998" (US; 1998-xx-xx), page 27
- Electronic Gaming Monthly, "May 1998" (US; 1998-xx-xx), page 123