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Gravy Factory Makes T-Shirts for Upcoming Games

Gravy Factory has announced to make 24,000 t-shirts for new video games being released for game gurus.

The Gravy Factory, a 5-month-old online retailer specializing in apparel for video gamers and computer geeks, just announced a groundbreaking deal with one of the world's largest video game plublishers to place at least 24,000 t-shirts in retail stores next month. Ubisoft tapped the tiny two-man company to create apparel for the next version of one of its most popular titles, Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell, which goes on sale worldwide next month.

The announcement was made by Gravy Factory Co-founders Kevin Miles and Jon Crossland.

Ubisoft, publisher of the Tom Clancy franchise which includes two other games, altogether selling 27.7 million units last year worldwide, hired the ambitious startup as the sole designer for its first major entry into merchandising, after Strategic Sales and Licensing Manager at Ubisoft, Paul Crockett, and Miles hit it off via the telephone and E-mails over the last few months.

The design created by The Gravy Factory features the game's main character, Sam Fisher, an undercover operative for the U.S. government who employs stealth tactics and the latest high-tech military gear to complete dangerous missions at political hotspots around the world. The shirt will be sold in Hot Topic, a national retailer with more than 600 stores nationwide and Electronics Boutique, a video game retialer with more than 1,600 stores nationwide.

"We hope this deal will help us get a foot in the door with other major retailers," said Gravy Factory co-founder Kevin Miles. "People are finally starting to realize this isn't just some tiny niche market. Last year, one out of every two Americans in the country bought a video game. That's huge."

Crockett first heard about The Gravy Factory after Casey Keefe, the US Online Community Manager at Ubisoft mentioned his meeting with Miles at the 2004 World Cyber Games. Keefe was so impressed by Miles' enthusiasm, passion and knowledge of the industry, he took the time to poke around company's website after returning to his office a few days later. Apparently Keefe was quite impressed by what he saw. He's not alone.

The Gravy Factory has generated unheard of buzz for a company of its age and size with its irreverent website and the mainstream appeal of its sophisticated, eye catching designs. And not just from consumers. The deal with Ubisoft is just the most recent example of how The Gravy Factory is shaking things up and making its presence felt as it continues to become a force to be reckoned with throughout the industry.

The company sells its wares in Japan, was approached by a venture capitalist offering to invest $500,000 in the company, sponsored an event at last month's Sundance Film Festival, and G4techTV, a 24/7 network dedicated to gamers and geeks broadcast into 50 million US homes, regularly includes Gravy Factory gear in their on-air contests, giveaways and promotions. The company was also invited to tour Bungie Studios, the masterminds behind Halo, Halo2, and Fable, is currently in discussions to participate in the 2005 Oscars, and will reprise their partnership with Ubisoft this fall by creating apparel for Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon 3, which has sold 11 million copies to date.

"We're definitely looking at looking at the relationship with The Gravy Factory as a business model for future projects. Absolutely," said Crockett.

With clothing designed to appeal to the millions of consumers who spent $12 billionin 2003, about three times the amount they spent on movie theatre tockets, as well as the millions of computer enthusiasts who spent billions on hardware and software in 2004, The Gravy Factory seeks to capture a significant slice of this multi-billion dollar pie both in the U.S. and in countries around the world.

"Nobody's really done this before, but there are vast numbers of geeks and gamers to target," said Linda Arroz, a fashion marketing expert with Makeover Media, a Studio City firm that specializes in TV advertising. "And wearing T-shirts and other clothing and accessories with words or phrases is very cool, has always been cool and will always be cool."

The Gravy Factory, which currently sells it unique line of gamer and geek apparel over the internet and at several retailers, hopes to one day open its own international chain of traditional bricks and mortar stores with a LAN gaming component, and are currently developing video game projects to pitch to companies like Ubisoft and Bungie Studios.

http://xbox.advancedmn.com/article.php?artid=4212

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