14 Years Ago Rockstar Ran Weird TV Ads Of Just A Clock Counting Down

Illustration for article titled 14 Years Ago Rockstar Ran Weird TV Ads Of Just A Clock Counting Down
Image: Rockstar / Kotaku

Back in 2007, Rockstar Games teased Grand Theft Auto IV with a series of late-night ads that appeared on channels like FX. All the ads amounted to were 30 minutes of watching a clock tick down, with every second punctuated by a gunshot. Young Zack, ever the sucker, fell for the hype hard.


Yes, cast your mind back to the olden days of 2007. Specifically, March 2007. Like March 2021, many people around the world were waiting for the next big game in the GTA series. However, unlike now where we have zero news or information about the next game, back in 2007 we knew GTA IV was coming. And Rockstar was happy to make fans countdown every second until the very first trailer dropped.

To be clear, this clock-ticking ad wasn’t counting down until the release of the game. No, this clock was simply and loudly counting down each second until the first trailer would be released.

And yet, stupid, younger Zack watched a lot of this countdown ad, flipping between Adult Swim and the counting. Why? Because I thought, maybe, just maybe, if I watched it Rockstar would show a teaser for the game early and I would get a sneak peek! It never happened. These ads ran for a few nights, though exact details about them are hard to find online. I’m honestly shocked someone even recorded it and uploaded it to YouTube back in 2007.

When the counting stopped and the trailer finally dropped Rockstar’s website crashed and folks weren’t able to even view it right away. It was a frustrating end to a bizarre teaser campaign, once which we probably won’t see again.

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Kotaku Weekend Editor | Zack Zwiezen is a writer living in Kansas. He has written for GameCritics, USgamer, Kill Screen & Entertainment Fuse.


*realizes 2007 was 14 years ago, starts hyperventilating*