From Sega Retro
It's Thinking was a US marketing campaign created by Sega of America and its advertising partners, Foote, Cone & Belding for the launch of the Sega Dreamcast. It began with a $100 million USD launch campaign and covered the first few months of the console while on sale.
According to Sega, "it's thinking" refers to "technology engine inside Sega Dreamcast that can evolve and continue to outsmart human opponents".
While the tagline is fondly remembered by many North American consumers and is still occasionally referenced today, it is a widely held view that by not actively featuring the Dreamcast console and its games in the first few weeks, the campaign likely caused more confusion among its potential customer base than excitement. Those unaware of events in Japan may have been unaware what a Dreamcast was until late August.
The slogan was dropped around September 2000, in favour of the return of the Sega Scream.
Three 15-second teaser trailers were aired in the summer of 1999.
On August 9, 1999, the Dreamcast was first shown on television as part of a nationally syndicated television 60-second commercial, "Apocalypse". The advert was filmed in Vancouver, British Columbia by Irish director John Moore, with the animated portions created by Pacific Data Images of Antz fame.
Apocalypse aired across nine different cable networks, including MTV, FOX, WB, UPN, ESPN, USA, World Wrestling Federation/20th Century/Columbia syndication, ZDTV, and The Box, as well as being downloadable from Sega's website.
A 90 second version aired during the 1999 MTV Music Video Awards, estimated to have an audience of more than 22 million.
In the Box
The final phase of broadcast advertising for the Dreamcast launch, five more television advertisements aired, featuring 3D models taken straight out of Dreamcast games. They also included appearances from NFL and NBA stars including Gary Payton, Penny Hardaway, Brian Grant, Allen Iverson and Randy Moss.
- Press release: 1998-05-28: E3Expo/Sega Readies Marketing Allies for Largest Video Game Launch in History
- Press release: 1999-08-09: Sega Introduces Massive Tv Ad Campaign Gearing Up for Launch of Sega Dreamcast
- Press release: 1999-08-24: Sega Taps PDI, Creators of Award-Winning Feature Film Antz, to Develop Sega Dreamcast Television ADS
- Official Dreamcast Magazine, "November 1999" (US; 1999-10-05), page 17
- Gamers' Republic, "December 1999" (US; 1999-11-15), page 39
- Electronic Gaming Monthly, "February 2000" (US; 2000-01-11), page 71
- Gamers' Republic, "December 1999" (US; 1999-11-15), page 13
- Gamers' Republic, "December 1999" (US; 1999-11-15), page 25
- Electronic Gaming Monthly, "May 2000" (US; 2000-04-04), page 68
- GamePro, "May 2000" (US; 2000-xx-xx), page 44
- GamePro, "June 2000" (US; 2000-xx-xx), page 74
- Electronic Gaming Monthly, "May 2000" (US; 2000-04-04), page 174
- Electronic Gaming Monthly, "July 2000" (US; 2000-06-06), page 162
- Electronic Gaming Monthly, "September 2000" (US; 2000-08-08), page 134
- Electronic Gaming Monthly, "September 2000" (US; 2000-08-08), page 132
- Electronic Gaming Monthly, "September 2000" (US; 2000-08-08), page 182
- GamePro, "October 2000" (US; 2000-xx-xx), page 228
- Electronic Gaming Monthly, "September 2000" (US; 2000-08-08), page 68
- GamePro, "October 2000" (US; 2000-xx-xx), page 150