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I want to be an Indian? Video Game Co. Tries Human Branding

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    Video Game Co. Tries Human Branding By BRUCE STANLEY AP Business Writer Published Aug 12, 2002 0812 HUMANBRANDING
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 13, 2002
      Video Game Co. Tries Human Branding
      By BRUCE STANLEY AP Business Writer

      Published Aug 12, 2002 0812

      LONDON (AP) - Wanted: Adventurous video game fans willing to change their identities. Must be willing to live for a year as dinosaur hunter called Turok.

      Hoping to push back the frontiers of advertising, a British marketing firm said Monday it would pay nearly $800 each to five people for the right to transform them into human billboards for a fantasy superhero.

      Acclaim UK is seeking applicants who will legally change their names for one year to promote the latest installment of its video game series about Turok, a time-traveling American Indian who slays bionically enhanced dinosaurs.

      The Institute of Science in Marketing, a business group supporting the effort, expects its so-called Identity Marketing technique will catch on as the next big thing for companies eager to reach consumers dulled to conventional advertising.

      "It's not a gimmick ... Every form of their identity will have to change for this to work," said Acclaim spokesman Andrew Bloch. "They'll be walking, talking, living, breathing advertisements."

      In a similar example, two years ago, a Kansas couple were paid $5,000 by the Internet Underground Music Archive, a Web site, for naming their baby boy Iuma.

      Acclaim UK, whose parent company Acclaim Entertainment is based in Glen Cove, N.Y., is launching a Web site where would-be Turoks can apply. The company will cover the costs each winner incurs in changing his or her name, to be done in a legally binding process called a deed poll.

      In addition, winners will received a computer game console, as many video games as they can play and 500 pounds ($785), Bloch said. He called the payment a token sum because anyone willing to become a human billboard "won't be doing it for the hard cash."

      The plan grew from a perceived need to surmount the daily white noise of advertising with something unique. Acclaim hopes each new "Turok" will act as an ambassador for the game, taking time to explain the origin of his or her name to anyone who asks.

      "The video games industry has a habit of always striving for newer and more unique ways of targeting customers, and with Identity Marketing I think we've topped the lot," said Acclaim spokesman Shaun White.

      Bloch described the original Turok as big and good-looking. "You'd be quite proud to call yourself Turok if you knew who he was," he said.

      The firm's target audience ranges from teen-agers to Turok enthusiasts in their 40s. It expects that the first five Turoks - others may come later - will be socially active and may even work in the video games business.

      Acclaim said it would help successful applicants obtain a second deed poll to revert to their original names after a year.

      On the Net: www.mynameisturok.co.uk. (PROFILE (CO:Acclaim Entertainment; TS:AKLM; IG:ENT;)

      Relevant Links:
      Turok - http://www.turok.com
      My Name is Turok - http://www.mynameisturok.co.uk

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