Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric – Ad Analysis


Sega recently released Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric for the Nintendo Wii U. The game’s advertisement is strong overall with dynamic editing and diverse shot content.

The majority of shots in the advertisement are cut together in rapid succession, with many shots only lasting a few seconds each. Studies have shown that this kind of rapid editing leads to greater viewer excitement than if the advertisement had fewer cuts and longer shots.

The edits also create a varied montage spanning the different scenarios that arise in the game. If the shots show Sonic doing enough different things, the montage will lead viewers to generalize that they can do anything in the game, an effect that is called generalization montage. With shots of Sonic running on water, zip-lining through the air, piloting ships and submarines, and using numerous attacks and weapons on assorted enemies, the advertisement achieves this level of variety.

Another ingredient in this advertisement is the power of omission. The cliffhanger ending heightens viewer interest by leaving the rest up to the imagination, and the only way to find out what happens next is to play the game.

There are downsides to these editing decisions, however. A number of the shots are cutscenes rather than gameplay footage. This distinction, combined with the brevity of each shot, means that the viewer gets a less clear sense of what it would be like to actually play the game than if there had been fewer cutscenes and longer gameplay shots. This tradeoff seems to be deliberate though, since it allows the advertisement to effectively heighten user excitement and curiosity.

Visual Technique in Xbox One’s “Immersion” Ad


In this ad for the new Microsoft Xbox One gaming console, the director employs several visual techniques meant to target the ad at a very specific population of consumers: young males. A successful advertisement is likable and memorable, and Microsoft’s “Immersion” ad achieves both for its intended audience.

First, the speed of the editing between the gamer’s virtual world and his reality is exceptionally fast, making the ad more dynamic and powerful to a viewer, particularly a male one. The virtual fight scenes are visually compressed into just a few frames, adding to the excitement.

Next, the camera angles chosen for the gamer’s moment of crisis also cause a viewer to identify personally with him. The camera is set behind the gamer, looking into a mirror; knowing the camera is showing a reflection, seeing the gamer’s close-up, fearful look after every apparent injury causes a viewer to experience the same panic that he does. Though this effect would likely be achieved better through subjective, first-person camera, the director’s choice of camera angle still increases the viewer’s level of engagement with the ad (and it therefore makes sense that a young male gamer was chosen as the protagonist).

The subject matter of the ad also makes it more likable for young males; the ad’s director chose a violent video game (and a rather gruesome advertisement) to demonstrate the realism of the Xbox One. Research shows that gamers, particularly youth and males, enjoy virtual violence.

Finally, the surreal nature of the commercial makes it readily memorable. The absurdness of the ad’s montage (the premise that one could experience in-game injuries in reality) enhances viewer recall, according to a 2012 study. Another study from the same year showed that absurdity in a commercial montage improved attitudes towards the ad among males.

It is important to note that the ad is not without its weaknesses. Most importantly, by targeting it so specifically at one population segment, Microsoft has likely alienated female consumers. Furthermore, the ad’s protagonist appears to be having an unpleasant experience switching between realities, which might cause an engaged viewer to draw a negative association with the gaming system. However, overall, this ad seems well-suited for its ideal consumers.

The Sims 4 Youtube Ad Analysis

The Sims 4 is a dynamic simulation game in which the controller plays the role of God, directing the lives of the characters (Sims) in the game. In this YouTube advertisement, the directors use an element of mystery to increase suspense and maintain viewers’ attention from the beginning of the ad to the end. It begins with a green light casting a glow over a city as the cast of the ad stares at it in wonder.

Since the avatars used in the game are simply idealized versions of the humans playing behind them, they serve as links between the audience and advertisement. During the climactic point of the ad, creators combine the two worlds and show humans and CGIs (computer generated images) interacting together in the same environment for a substantial amount of time. This was a good move on their part because studies have shown that human beings prefer realistic over non-realistic images. That last statement may make the decision to use CGIs seem risky. However, since this is the fourth installment of the game, its creators were most likely targeting current players by highlighting the game’s new improvements instead of focusing on attracting new customers.

One of the improvements being made to the game is the more “realistic” look that avatars now possess. To accomplish this, the game’s creators made characters’ faces look more neotenous (youthful and innocent). People tend to be more attracted to these types of faces so the ultimate goal for the creators of the ad would be to make viewers associate that attraction with the advertised product itself.



Videogame Ad: Call of Duty–Black Ops

The live-action ad for “Call of Duty: Black Ops” video game features people from all ages and occupations, including a businesswoman, a nurse, a chef, and even celebrities such as Kobe Bryant and Jimmy Kimmel, fighting in a war battle setting as one would in the video game. As shown by Boesche’s study that violent content enhances video game performance, the commercial demonstrates aggression as an integral part of the video game. For instance, a woman in a purple blouse is shown with an exhilarated look on her face after firing a shotgun. Suggesting that viewers will also feel the same emotion when they play this game, the commercial reinforces the violent nature with CG effects. While the central message of the commercial is that anyone can experience the rush of being a hero through this game as embodied by the tagline, “There is a soldier in all of us,” the commercial trivializes combat and sanitizes war, which can have a negative effect on viewers.

On the other hand, the swift editing style is effective. As shown by Lang’s study, the persuasiveness of fast editing is remarkable since fast editing is much more liked by young audience than normal editing. Furthermore, this commercial has mass appeal as it looks and feels like a movie, rather than a blood-soaked experience. By letting the viewer interact and get caught up in the game’s energy, the commercial successfully draws the viewer’s attention and increases liking of the game in comparison to other games that evoke revulsion by mimicking stark and outrageous violence.


Video game ads: Forza Horizon 2

Forza Horizon 2 ad is different than the traditional racing game ads, it doesn’t start with flashy cars battling on road, but instead, its first scene is a boring mini track with toy cars running on a fixed route slowly.  Suddenly, the camera switched to first person view in a Lamborghini on track that broke the silence of the ad.  The car burned the tires and wires, destroyed the fence and ran off the track to race on a public toad which led other cars to follow. At this point, the music became more upbeat and exciting; the image transformed from animated toy setting to reality imagery once the car hit the public roads. The ad constantly switching from side views to first person view which gives viewer stronger association with the game especially if the viewer is a serious driving game player. Meanwhile, the transformation from surrealistic to realistic imagery works seamlessly which really attracts audience’s attention during the scene, the whole process with fast editing add more excitement to the ad instantly. The ad also did a great job to showcase the kinds of car and landscape that user would face in the game. Every time when the ad switch a scene, it always take a high angle, long shot of the entire scenery first, then focus on the car with a close up shot after. Eventually, potential buyers would have better understanding of this game after watching the ad.  Over this entire ad is an amazing presentation of the game; the fast editing, quick showcase of varieties of cars and backgrounds with upbeat music would really attract its target consumer, and increase the liking from male audience.


The Sims 4: The Creation of an Energetic and Inclusive Universe

The Sims 4 official launch trailer uses generalizational montage and dynamic editing to advertise the Sims 4 as an engaging and versatile game for any and all audiences. Generalizational montage is a technique that combines several different images arranged to represent an inclusive whole of some kind. This technique is exemplified in this advertisement through the opening shots of walking Sims characters. They differ visually by gender, race, style and fashion, and this diversity is exemplified by hashtags imposed on the shots of each character: #Goof, #Bro, #FreeSpirit, and so on. The versatility of the characters, emphasized by the labels and number of shots, translates into representing the Sims 4 as a game that can be loved by people of all ages, backgrounds, and personalities. This use of generalizational montage is reiterated in the final shot of the advertisement, which zooms outward from one character’s scene to reveal windows into different scenes that make up the number “4” in the Sims 4 logo.

Additionally, the advertisement uses dynamic editing through a combination of multiple types of shots, with upbeat music to accompany the quick transitions between each clip. The shots include everything from a wide, sped-up shot of a Sim house construction, to close-ups of Sims kissing, to slow-motion shots of Sim children jumping in puddles. The transitions are facilitated by zooming and wiping between still images of once-moving scenes, often pausing on descriptive hashtags to emphasize the variety of experiences the game can provide. While the fast editing is a strength in transforming an otherwise slow-moving game into a lively experience and likely increases viewers’ liking of the advertisement, it may also serve as a weakness for brand and product recall. Although viewers may be engaged by the fast-paced advertisement, they may also be less likely to remember its content due to the editing speed.


Disney Infinity – Advertising Techniques for Video Games


Disney is currently working on a new children’s video game that can be used on multiple platforms and comes in multiple installations called “Disney Infinity.” This is one of the many ads Disney released to promote the system. Each ad usually features a different set of Disney-owned characters or universes; this one is showing the Marvel installation. Disney uses several techniques to promote the game to their target audience (young children, mostly boys). First, they do a sequence of generalization montage with the different heroes morphing into each other as the walk through the game space. Generalization montage is a montage where different types of people are shown to be engaging with a product or in an activity to show that the product or activity can be enjoyed by all. In this case, instead of showing a generalization of the consumers that can use the product, Disney shows a montage of the different characters they can play. Since in the game you become the character you pick, making it almost an avatar representing you, the generalization montage, even though the ad doesn’t show a generalization of people playing, Disney achieves the same persuasive effect.

The commercial also uses editing techniques to make the product more attractive and exciting. Disney uses rapid straight cuts to advertise the game because rapid edits have been shown to be persuasive and exciting, especially among a younger audience. This editing speed has also been often used in ads for advertising toys to boys compared with the slower cuts usually used t advertise toys and games for girl. Disney might be doing this because while superheroes appeal to both boys and girls, they are considered to be more popular with boys. Furthermore, there Disney shows significantly fewer female Marvel characters with only Black Widow featuring prominently in the generalization montage which might be another sign that Disney expects this game to cater mostly to boys. It is understandable, then, that they chose to do more rapid cuts to excite the male audience members. Disney employs several other techniques usually used to advertise to boys. The cuts, or changes in shots, are all straight cuts, meaning there is no fading or dissolve into the next image but a direct jump to the next scene. The speed of these cuts increases when they show fighting scenes, making the violence seem more dynamic and exciting. The music, furthermore, is in the foreground rather than in the background – its role is stronger within the commercial, with no spoken words interrupting it and more of the changes in images coinciding with beats in the music. Although these techniques are also generally used to raise the excitement in a commercial, they are often used to target boys. Since they chose not to show who is enjoying the consumption of the game and children are usually sensitive to these differences between female-targeted and male-targeted advertisements, it would be useful for Disney to show more female characters and include clearer shots of them in the ad to make more female superhero fans feel included.

Ubisoft’s Far Cry 4


In the Far Cry 4 video game advertisement, the developers from Ubisoft use a few different camera and editing techniques to enhance the image of the video game to the viewer. First, in only a 45 second advertisement, 5 different action-filled scenes are shown in succession, something that can be very difficult to smoothly demonstrate in a trailer. Strategic use of dissolve transitions, however, allows the developers to show off the plentiful visually pleasing and adventurous environments that will be encountered during gameplay. Additionally, these transitions are capable of being so effective because of the use of the first person point of view throughout the advertisement. This choice of camera is the most powerful way of illustrating to the viewer what the gameplay will be like – by actually showing it. Further, the use of the first person camera in such a short clip will allow the viewer to identify with the game character, and draw him/her in even more.

Conversely, what the advertisement lacks is an indication to the plot or main premise of the game. This is a result of the series of relatively quick cuts that do not allow for the development of the overarching goal of the game in a particular scene.

Regardless, the advertisement achieves what must be the goal of every video game ad: capturing someone’s attention and sparking his/her interest in the game. The seamless use of dissolve transitions coupled with the transparent use of first person camera to show the various settings of the game how they will actually be seen by the gamer makes this an extremely effective advertisement.

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Why the Overwatch Trailer Calls for a New Type of Shooter Game

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Blizzard Entertainment has a new debut: Overwatch, a Pixaresque Windows shooter game with a rumored 2015 beta release. Blizzard, known for its MMORPG World of Warcraft, has taken an exciting step in the development of this game.

The trailer opens with a Ken Burns Generalization Montage – an effect that combines still images with slight camera movement to create a feeling of ‘everyone together’. This montage combines a variety of push in and pull out movements in addition to multiple heroic angles (angles shot from below or above the subject to generate a sense of boldness) to create intensity. This opening, revealed to be a documentary lionizing the past, transitions into a wide shot of two neotenous boys. Neoteny, an effect most prominent in Japanese anime, shows bigger eyes and puffier cheeks for more child like faces. It’s generally appealing to audiences especially when audiences know the subjects aren’t real. This softer and gentler approach to a shooter game is a bit novel in a field crowded with games like Call of Duty. Beautifully animated characters fighting in steadily edited sequences exhibit that this game entails a potentially more casual gaming experience. Experienced gamers may find this gameplay a bit slow since their manual skills are highly developed (gamers learn skills like spatial recognition and response time); however, there is no halt to the excitement as the trailer reveals. Digital animation grants existence to unrealistic things in a realistic environment, and Overwatch epitomizes a shooter game mentality within kid-friendly environments.

Advertising-video games: Dishonored (E3 2012 trailer)

Video game trailers, like those for films, want to give the viewer enough to get them interested, but not enough to spoil the experience. I think that the E3 trailer for Dishonored, which makes us of a darker version of the sea shanty “Drunken Sailor”, does quite well at both. The trailer opens with several scenes of slow tracks around different parts of a city. The music is soft and most scenes are empty of people, the viewer is being introduced to a new world.


Around the half minute mark there is a first person viewpoint of a man holding a little girl's hand. Everything is silent, then suddenly the trailer cuts to a red-tinted scene of an unknown man disappearing into thin air accompanied by the sound of shrieking rats. The editing speed picks up and there are quick cuts to many distinct scenes: a woman is murdered, then there is the viewpoint of a person bent down to her, then a prison, armed men, a torture room. The rapid cuts leave the viewer no time to sort out what is happening, making them just as confused as the characters experiencing the events.


After that rapid section the pace is slower and the music returns as a driving beat rather than the softness of the opening. Again the viewer is being shown areas of the city, with fades between them, but now it is a much darker place, filled with corpses and plague. Those scenes are followed by first person views showing off some of what the player can do in the game. There's a nice transition at 1:16 where a bright light in the scene is used to switch back to longer shots of the environment. 


Towards the end there is another nice piece of editing, from the viewpoint of someone slowly approaching and then killing a masked woman. This is broken up by a couple fades which make it more exciting than the slow approach would normally be. Then the screen goes black and the viewer sees the woman and little girl from the beginning. The woman is shown being murdered again (after the player just murdered someone similarly dressed), and the screen goes black for a moment. The trailer ends with the camera pulling away from the little girl, showing the viewer that's she's now all alone. Dishonored (E3 2012 trailer)

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