The Sega Saturn's Advertising
What IS going on out there?
Many of you may remember my short and amateurish article from about a year ago, "The 5th Generation ROCKED", how it was my first article, and how at the end I promised a follow up chronicling the Sega Saturn and how it affected my childhood. Well, I never really did that, but you can call this article a "spiritual successor", for lack of a better word. It pretty much fits the criteria for such an article, with it being about the Saturn, and technically being a follow up to my last one. So, let's get started.
Who hear remembers the Sega Saturn? Show of hands. Really? I never really owned one back in the day, but I played my neighbor's all the time, practically every time I went to his house! So, with that said, what I REALLY remember about the ill-fated console was the advertising. Yep, that's right, the marketing that went into trying to get that sleek black controller into the hands of loyal Genesis owners. It was... not pretty, as you're about to see.
You see that screen-cap, right? No, that's not a member of the Ku Klux Klan, it's actually the star of our first ad on this crazy venture. His name? Cone. Yeah, you probably guessed that already.
The commercial starts off with a close-up of a human eye, which is zoomed into. Then there's this theatre just ahead, and a narrator says "Theatre Of The Eye". So, I guess we go into the theatre, and hey! There's that guy Cone I was telling you about! So what's Cone up to? Nothing unusual, just hanging out with his bestest friend from the other end of the nerve, Rod. Looks like him and a bunch of other similarly dressed men are enjoying a nice movie. What about? Why, a man (err... or maybe a woman) clipping his (her?) toenails! Must be one of those exciting Toenail documentaries I keep hearing about. Strange stuff for a movie, no? That's because it isn't. Surprise, this is just some goofy and 'not clever in the slightest because they are wearing name-tags' analogy of the human eye! Yeah, you probably figured that out already. So what does this have to do with the Sega Saturn? Well, the guy (girl?) plays a Sega Saturn after a finishing his delightful toenail clipping session, and his body acts like all hell has broken loose. No, really, that's exactly how this goes. He plays some of the Saturn's titles (not even the good ones) and things start breaking inside of him. First, his cone and rod cells, um, drool? I'm not sure what that is supposed to entail but it must be an analogy for crying, even though that makes no sense what so ever. So a theatre usher ("cleverly" called an optical nerve) calls the brain through one of those awesome retro phones and tells him there's a problem, and then some guy alerts the good people of "This Person's Body" that the ear drums are bursting, and then in quite possibly the most cliched pun ever, we see a guy playing drums. Obviously Sega's marketing division was full of surrealists who honestly couldn't do a better analogy than "drums, like real drums". Then a rather well dressed fellow complains about a breakdown, while another guy behind him is screaming. I've never actually seen that one before, so I'll give Sega their props there. Next, the Brain tempts fate by asking if things could get worse. His secretary? walks in and tells him the bad news; the sphincter broke. I think. Logic has finally been thrown out the window with those last scenes. Actually, I think it's a save bet to say logic was never here. This commercial was just one biological joke after another. The ending's pretty boss, though. It cuts back to the eye that started off this commercial, and it blinks, but oh, what's this?
A Sega Saturn Logo? Man, I want some of those wicked contact lenses. This ending's so fantastic, it's probably the commercial's saving grace! But, alas, this is one of three ads showcasing the mystical "Theatre Of The Eye", which means I must either cover the other ads, or just plain move on to the '96 to '97 promos. I think I'll do the later. But, just in case you need my reference, proof that this insanity exists, or want to torture yourself, search up on Youtube either "Theatre Of The Eye", "Sega Saturn Promo", or "Sega Saturn Launch Ad". I can't show my exact reference, since it's one of those tapes they mail to you if you were an Sega Magazine subscriber or something. I think my cousin was one of those. Anyways, I didn't really bother looking for the ad, but those search queries will more than likely bring it up. For some reason, it isn't on RetroJunk to my knowledge, but this next ad is.
Okay, let's get started again. This right here is pretty tame compared to what SOA was spitting at us during the launch, but it's still kind of stupid, but I'll let you decide on that. The ad is mostly blip footage of one of their older ads (one about a baby
with an adult head), game footage, and some psychedelic purple colours with emphasis on certain words. The narrator in this commercial, as a fair warning, is creepy, and caught me completely off guard when I first saw this. They used some sort of vocoder things to make him in G-Major or something. Hard to explain, but you'll get my point when you watch it. Then, at the end, the baby rejects the "Plaything", and this bizarre CGI head with no facial features screams "SEGA!" and becomes the sphere in the Saturn logo. I... um... well... where to begin? Unneeded audio effect? Check. Strangely awesome music? Check. Alerting CGI monstrosity that scares small children? You got that. Finally, there were maybe 2 or 3 variations on this formula, one involving a Playstation falling off of a roof (I think it was for NiGHTs), and one where they shoot an N64 up in the air like a clay pigeon. Welp, that's all I've got to say on this taboo subject that doesn't like to poke it's head into society. Or the internet, for that matter. Come back next week (if this gets a fair amount of views) and I'll talk about what Japan got instead. Does Segata ring any bells? That is, if it meets the site's criteria. Well, thanks for reading all the way through and (hopefully) liking it. Goodbye, fellow '90s dwellers (yes, I consider myself one, too).