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It's Thinking

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[1] 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"[2].

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.

Television advertisements

Teasers

Three 15-second teaser trailers were aired in the summer of 1999.

Apocalypse

On August 9, 1999, the Dreamcast was first shown on television as part of a nationally syndicated television 60-second commercial, "Apocalypse"[2]. 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[3][2].

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[2].

A 90 second version aired during the 1999 MTV Music Video Awards, estimated to have an audience of more than 22 million[2].

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[3].

Print advertisements

ODCM US 01.pdf

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Print advert in Official Dreamcast Magazine (US) #1: "September 1999" (1999-08-24)

ODCM US 01.pdf

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Print advert in Official Dreamcast Magazine (US) #1: "September 1999" (1999-08-24)

ODCM US 01.pdf

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Print advert in Official Dreamcast Magazine (US) #1: "September 1999" (1999-08-24)

ODCM US 01.pdf

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Print advert in Official Dreamcast Magazine (US) #1: "September 1999" (1999-08-24)

EGM US 124.pdf

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The House of the Dead 2 print advert in Electronic Gaming Monthly (US) #124: "November 1999" (1999-10-05)

EGM US 124.pdf

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NFL 2K print advert in Electronic Gaming Monthly (US) #124: "November 1999" (1999-10-05)
also published in:

EGM US 125.pdf

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NBA 2K print advert in Electronic Gaming Monthly (US) #125: "December 1999" (1999-11-09)
also published in:
  • Gamers' Republic (US) #19: "December 1999" (1999-xx-xx)[5]
  • Electronic Gaming Monthly (US) #127: "February 2000" (2000-01-11)[6]

EGM US 125.pdf

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Sega Bass Fishing print advert in Electronic Gaming Monthly (US) #125: "December 1999" (1999-11-09)

EGM US 125.pdf

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Virtua Fighter 3tb print advert in Electronic Gaming Monthly (US) #125: "December 1999" (1999-11-09)
also published in:
  • Gamers' Republic (US) #19: "December 1999" (1999-xx-xx)[7]

EGM US 125.pdf

PDF
Toy Commander print advert in Electronic Gaming Monthly (US) #125: "December 1999" (1999-11-09)
also published in:
  • Gamers' Republic (US) #19: "December 1999" (1999-xx-xx)[8]

EGM US 127.pdf

PDF
Sega Rally 2 print advert in Electronic Gaming Monthly (US) #127: "February 2000" (2000-01-11)

EGM US 127.pdf

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Crazy Taxi print advert in Electronic Gaming Monthly (US) #127: "February 2000" (2000-01-11)

EGM US 127.pdf

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Zombie Revenge print advert in Electronic Gaming Monthly (US) #127: "February 2000" (2000-01-11)

GamePro US 139.pdfGamePro US 139.pdf

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Resident Evil: Code Veronica print advert in GamePro (US) #139: "April 2000" (2000-xx-xx)
also published in:
  • Electronic Gaming Monthly (US) #130: "May 2000" (2000-04-04)[9]
  • GamePro (US) #140: "May 2000" (2000-xx-xx)[10]
  • GamePro (US) #141: "June 2000" (2000-xx-xx)[11]

GamePro US 139.pdf

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NHL 2K print advert in GamePro (US) #139: "April 2000" (2000-xx-xx)
also published in:
  • Electronic Gaming Monthly (US) #130: "May 2000" (2000-04-04)[12]

GamePro US 141.pdf

PDF
Space Channel 5 print advert in GamePro (US) #141: "June 2000" (2000-xx-xx)
also published in:
  • Electronic Gaming Monthly (US) #132: "July 2000" (2000-06-06)[13]

GamePro US 143.pdfGamePro US 143.pdf

PDF
Space Channel 5 print advert in GamePro (US) #143: "August 2000" (2000-xx-xx)

GamePro US 143.pdfGamePro US 143.pdf

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Virtua Tennis print advert in GamePro (US) #143: "August 2000" (2000-xx-xx)
also published in:
  • Electronic Gaming Monthly (US) #134: "September 2000" (2000-08-08)[14]

GamePro US 143.pdfGamePro US 143.pdf

PDF
World Series Baseball 2K1 print advert in GamePro (US) #143: "August 2000" (2000-xx-xx)
also published in:
  • Electronic Gaming Monthly (US) #134: "September 2000" (2000-08-08)[15]

GamePro US 143.pdf

PDF
Ecco the Dolphin: Defender of the Future print advert in GamePro (US) #143: "August 2000" (2000-xx-xx)
also published in:
  • Electronic Gaming Monthly (US) #134: "September 2000" (2000-08-08)[16]
  • GamePro (US) #145: "October 2000" (2000-xx-xx)[17]

ODCM US 07.pdfODCM US 07.pdf

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Ecco the Dolphin: Defender of the Future print advert in Official Dreamcast Magazine (US) #7: "September/October 2000" (2000-08-01)

ODCM US 07.pdfODCM US 07.pdf

PDF
Ecco the Dolphin: Defender of the Future print advert in Official Dreamcast Magazine (US) #7: "September/October 2000" (2000-08-01)
also published in:
  • Electronic Gaming Monthly (US) #134: "September 2000" (2000-08-08)[18]
  • GamePro (US) #145: "October 2000" (2000-xx-xx)[19]

References