Chad Perrin: SOB

24 June 2008

D&D 4E TV ad . . . ?

Filed under: inanity,RPG — apotheon @ 07:06

This is part of my RPG series of entries here at SOB. See the inaugural entry in the series for more details.

I just saw a D&D fourth edition commercial on TV. Seriously. It consisted of several different scenes with a huge, life-size model of a beholder in the middle of it, a D&D Insider logo at the end, and a voice-over.

It was stupid. Really stupid.

As the SigO put it, “What demographic are they going for?”

The answer: None I’ve ever seen.

I’m less than impressed.

Just before posting this, I found it on YouTube:

I can see what they were going for. It was an attempt at using absurdity to create a low-key humorous attention-grabber. What we ended up with, though, was a somnolent piece of uninspired blah that isn’t likely to excite anyone except those who are just excited to see any D&D commercial on TV at all. It’s just . . . bad.

edit: I found Quicktime videos for both the ad and the “making of” at the Wizards of the Coast website, in case you care.


  1. It would of been better if someone had just dressed up as that creature with the bit that’s in that advert being just the head of the costume. Then if the person dressed up just followed random boring people round suggesting they could have more fun with D&D it would’ve been much funnier. Anyone else got any ideas?

    Comment by mitchissuper — 25 June 2008 @ 02:10

  2. Actually . . . yeah, that might have been more amusing. I’m not sure it would sell any more D&D books, but it would have made for a decent Candid Camera segment at least.

    Comment by apotheon — 25 June 2008 @ 10:17

  3. Well, I will say that it reminds me of the way the book is written… i.e., without a lot of apparent thought about what they were doing.

    Okay, that isn’t fair. I liked some of what they did with the mechanics, I just didn’t like a lot of the writing. The quality of the writing was better in 3.5 (i.e., less purple prose, fewer self-contradictions and imprecise wordings, etc.).

    Comment by heather (errantdreams) — 25 June 2008 @ 10:34

  4. Y’know, heather — that was my impression of the 4E books, too. I expected to dislike the new system somewhat, having gotten an idea of what was coming from those preview books the game and book stores were charging far too much for, but I didn’t expect the books to be so shoddily written.

    Comment by apotheon — 25 June 2008 @ 10:38

  5. I was really hoping to see something more along the lines of an update to the commercial from the 80s.

    Comment by Stuart — 25 June 2008 @ 11:21

  6. Yeah — the ’80s commercial would have made a much better basis for a commercial, I think. Obviously, it would have needed some updating — unless they were to just do a nostalgia re-release of the commercial and turn that into marketing for the new game edition. The pace and composition of the old commercial is a bit jumpy and poorly constructed, as though they were rushing to cram too much information into too short a span of time; that’s something that’d have to be fixed in an updated or follow-up treatment of marketing D&D.

    Comment by apotheon — 25 June 2008 @ 05:31

  7. Another way to make it better would be to have the beholder in some boring situation (say a meeting) and then have the heroes bust into the scene and battle it, with the help of some of the office folk, which would fit with the “everyone needs some fanstasy adventure” bit.

    Comment by Some Dude — 25 June 2008 @ 08:40

  8. Now that, Some Dude, would have been a much better ad.

    Comment by apotheon — 25 June 2008 @ 09:08

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