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Online War Game to Promote TV Special

TBS Superstation is taking advantage of the Web as a marketing tool for its upcoming two hour special, "War Games". The cable station commissioned WildTangent (www.wildtangent.com) to create an interactive combat war game based on the TV show. "War Games" is the Superstation's spin on the nation's ongoing obsession with "reality shows" and the two-hour pilot is an in-depth presentation of authentic combat-readiness scenarios from all four branches of the U.S. Armed forces.

"Branded applications is the next trend in multimedia promotions and advertising," said Alex St. John, co-founder and CEO of WildTangent. "To ensure these applications are effective, they must be stimulating, interactive and entertaining while re-enforcing the excitement of the show and what their viewers value."

The game, which was created using WildTangent technology, has six levels of combat action. Players can put themselves on the cutting edge by attacking entrenched enemy forces, capturing a Chemical Weapons Research Facility or defending a strategic airfield. A squadron of real-life Armed Forces vehicles will be at their command, such as the M2 Bradley Fighting Vehicle, the M1-A2 Abrams Tank and the Apache Helicopter. The first four levels are open to all to play, while the last two require the user to enter special key words that will be revealed during the television broadcast of "War Games."

WildTangent has been championing branded online games as effective advertising for offline brands. They have created games in partnership with retail companies such as Radio Shack and Toyota. According to Sanjay Balakrishnan, senior director of product development, the company is currently working on a game to be launched in conjunction with a major box office release this summer.

The "War Games" online game will debut on the TBS Superstation Web site (www.superstation.com) on March 14, two weeks prior to the airing of the television special. Both the game and the television show will be heavily advertised on TV.

"Utilizing an interactive combat game as part of the strategy for our ‘War Games' special is a natural fit and an added value for both TBS Superstation and our ‘Regular Guy' audience," said Richard Turner, director of online marketing for TBS Superstation. "This game will allow us to push our enhanced television efforts to a new level by putting our viewers directly into the action of a combat scenario."

Although "War Games" marks the first time the Superstation has turned to an online game to enhance its television offering, according to a spokesperson for TBS Superstation, the cable network has been untilizing its Web site to enhance special programs in the past. For events such as its "Dinner and Movie" special, the Web site features running trivia at the time of the movie.

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