JULY 13, 2010 • The advertising executive who helped bring the world the Kevin Butler PlayStation 3 commercials has been tapped to become chief executive of Activision Publishing. Eric Hirshberg will move from co-CEO and chief creative officer of Deutsch, L.A. to Activision Blizzard effective Sept. 7. Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick reportedly contacted Hirshberg directly about taking the job.
Impact: Activision Blizzard has had an incredible run the last few years to become the biggest retail software publisher in the games industry with two current top brands in Call of Duty and World of Warcraft. At the same time, being number one has put a target on its back, particularly from the gaming blogosphere and opinion influencers around the industry due to its handling of the Infinity Ward situation and comments over the years by Kotick about the business of making games. Additionally, there have been some recent high profile games that failed to meet expectations such as Tony Hawk Ride and this year’s racing game Blur. We view Hirshberg’s appointment as Activision Blizzard’s recognition that in addition rebranding the company in the minds and hearts of gamers, the right branding can potentially help improve sales as Sony has found with its highly praised Kevin Butler ads launched with the PS3 Slim in 2009.