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Ian Harrison aka "British Storm" as Punk vs. Master Sega. He was finally identified and accepted an interview!

The French Mega Drive advertisements of the early nineties marked a generation of gamers with its legendary slogan that became cult "Sega is stronger than you". They are what was best at the time, and even today, 30 years later.

Outside the world of video games, they are often highlighted in books or programs dealing with the subject of advertisements.

The Sega France team, then directed by Luc Bourcier, and supported by the Lintas advertising agency, can be proud of the work accomplished and the creation of the emblematic Punk tormented by Master Sega.

Hearing the name of the Japanese company Sega, who doesn’t remember their legendary slogan "Sega is stronger than you"? And yet that was 3 decades ago.

Barry Myers and Jason Lehel for Sega Commercial.jpg

Compilation of all the ads "Sega is stronger than you"

The history of Megadrive advertisements.

For the launch of the Mega Drive in France, a new marketing plan had to be devised. Initially, the advertisements for the French-speaking territory were to be the same as those used by Sega in England. Sega France stood up to the English and succeeded in repelling their attempts to impose their marketing campaigns for France.

In the 1990s, Sega bought the distribution subsidiaries of Virgin Loisirs, which until now had been Sega 's distributor in France. Virgin becomes Sega France and that's where it all begins!

Equipped with a solid, almost unlimited, marketing budget to promote the Sega brand, Luc Bourcier and his team were faced with a major obstacle, as no creative agency in Paris wanted to design advertisements for the video game industry, which wasn’t highly thought of back then.

The first idea, from one of the few agencies that showed interest, was to present a little boy returning from school whose gaze transformed his surroundings into video game sets because he couldn't help but think about his favorite games. Sega France no longer wanted to address children, but young adults. The idea was too simplistic and not different enough from the competition, so it was rejected.

Finally the Lintas agency  accepted to take up the challenge and impressed Sega France with the slogan "Sega is stronger than you". Alexandre Bertrand surrounded by Eric Niesseron and Philippe Foliard must think of a better concept to target the young people of the time, namely the hooligans and the cool types of the playgrounds. Together, they imagine a biker that aims to challenge players. Thus, the team of the creative director of Lintas, Alexandre Bertrand, kept their promise by delivering a Punk, who became an unforgettable character and a real icon, as well as for the following seasons, full of creations that we still remember.

It was the director Barry Myers, an English veteran of commercials who offered to transform the character from a basic Punk to a more ridiculous, funnier protagonist. The Brit 's idea was to portray a big, brainless brute and get him into trouble. Muscles are not everything and he would never manage to beat Master Sega who would then make fun of him.

The final idea being found, the scripts written, the director chosen, the shooting can begin.

Sega c'est plus fort que toi.jpg
Le punk publicités Sega Megadrive (Sega c'est plus fort que toi).jpg

Picture on the set : I'm the strongest!

Punk of Sega whit Ian Harrison.jpg

Picture on the set : Or not!

Punk Sega pub behind the scene.jpg

Picture on the set : Hmmm, the weather announced a tropical storm!

Ian Harrison playing the Punk for Sega Ad Campaign.jpg

The filming location

Union Station Los Angeles reproduction Sega Commercial 1991.jpg

Picture on the set : The Los Angeles of Mad Max!

Union Station Sega Megadrive French Ad Campaign.jpg

Picture on the set : We smile at the camera!

Sega Megadrive Ad campaign.jpg
Mickey Mouse Pub Sega Megadrive 1991.jpg

Filming takes place, from June 5, 1991, for 5 days without forgetting 2 days of lighting adjustment.

A hall called "H. Stage" is leased to "Shepperton Film Studios" now known as " Pinewood Studio". The shoot takes place in the UK.

For filming purposes, the Los Angeles train station, Union Station, is reproduced faithfully.

Jason Lehel, the cinematographer, vaguely remembers it:

“It was a full set, not an actual location. I used the movie Blade Runner as a reference for the mood, it was my idea to change the lighting once the actor started playing a game."

Four commercials will be shot: Sonic, Strider/Super Monaco GP, Moonwalker and Shinobi. Many Sega lovers have speculated that there is a fifth. It was apparently abandoned during filming or editing. The reasons are still unknown.

"The script was adjusted during filming and editing, but I can't tell you how and when."

By studying in detail the "Sonic" commercial , scenes are reminiscent of "Mickey Mouse Castle of Illusion" (the apple, the boxing glove and the water jet), elements that can be found in the game and in the gameplay rushes of the filmstrips. On the claps of some takes used for "Sonic", it is mentioned "Mickey".

Unpublished Mickey Mouse ad

Finally, the actor playing the punk, who was he?

The actor embodying Punk:

Ian Harrison, now 53, is the actor hiding under the guise of the most famous French punk. He is a former English professional bodybuilder and wrestler known among other names as "British Storm".

“I really didn't know anyone remembered those ads or that the character had a huge following until you told me a few days ago. I find this astonishing and it is a real revelation. I was told the ads could be sold in America and other countries, but I never saw them. Honestly, I had no idea how popular they had become."

Immigrated to Florida with his wife of 28 years, they gave birth to 2 children. They are also the proud grandparents of 4 grandchildren.

“They love to hear the stories of my many adventures, not the least of which are the Sega commercials.”

Born in Leeds, England, Ian was brought up in the spirit of martial arts. His father was a former top judoka excelling in the United Kingdom. At the age of 15, educated in a sports family, he found his way and turned to bodybuilding. Just a teenager, he won prestigious competitions such as the NABBA Junior Mr Britain and the NABBA Junior Mr Universe in 1988.

Gathering experience, from the top of his 20 years, he participated in various competitions in the open heavyweight division and won the EFBB British heavyweight championship in 1989. This last consecration allowed him to obtain professional status.

Shortly after this victory, one of his good bodybuilder friends, Colleen Yates, contacted him explaining that a certain Chris  from the casting agency "Sports Workshop" was looking for a bodybuilder for ads from one of their clients who was none other than SEGA . She could see him playing the role of a bodybuilder.

“I was never really a player, I was too involved in my sports career. I knew Sega. I was honored to have been chosen for such an important company's advertising campaign."

At 21, a few days after talking with his girlfriend, he shows up in London for the casting. There were a lot of people auditioning, some he knew, some he didn't. It was his first casting experience.

“During casting I vividly remember being asked to hold a chair and act like I was going to kill someone with it, I did that and cleared the room!! ! Apparently they were very impressed and I got the part."