I love Glee. Love it. I loved it before I'd ever even seen it. Why? Because I knew a few things:
1 - It was about dorks who sing.
2 - It was a prime-time network show with musical numbers.
3 - It was funny.
What's interesting, to me, is that I learned all of those things before watching the show. And the promos I saw didn't state those things explicitly - those were just my takeaway impressions. But when I watched the pilot, and saw exactly those three things on display, my initial feelings of satisfaction were validated.
When are you going to talk about video games?
Video games (and other entertainment products) have the same marketing problem that movies and tv shows have - you don't really know whether you enjoyed it or not until after you consume the product. Video games aren't like food, where you can eat the same dish over and over, video games are mostly one-shot products. And video games take a lot more money & time to experience than a movie. So this problem is especially pronounced with regard to video games.
The solution is familiar, but there isn't a widely accepted term for it. The solution involves providing a sense of what the consumer's experience will eventually be - as well as what sort of consumer will enjoy the product and some specific information about what the product contains. Ideally, this is at least partially encapsulated in a form which interested users can express to their friends "It's a monster movie" is a good example of an expressible idea that spreads between friends in this way.
But the solution is NOT to provide lots of detail about the experience you are selling. You don't entice people with a summary of your movie, or a map of your game world, or a copy of your lyric sheet. You want to skip the actual experience and jump to the feeling your experience will leave the audience with.
Your Marketing Story
Tadhg at What Games Are uses the term "Marketing Story" to denote this type of interest-building, and I think the term is apt. We're telling our potential customers a story - to help them decide whether or not our product is something they want to experience in full.
But a well-crafted marketing story isn't just an ad for your game - it's an ad for you studio. Studio-level marketing stories are much more powerful and permanent than stories about just one product. For example, Blizzard and Relic have very strong marketing stories about their studios. When they announce a new game they don't have to make up a new marketing story from scratch - because their studio-level marketing story is already in place.
A studio-level marketing story is effective because while the number of games released in any given year numbers in the thousands, the number of studios releasing games is much lower. Potential customers can learn about your studio much more readily - and even if they don't care for the particular game you have for sale today, their familiarity with your studio might make them more likely to pay attention to tomorrow's releases.
The Glee Project
Remember how much I liked Glee before I ever even watched an episode? Well I like it even more today, thanks to The Glee Project - a short-run series which made a reality-game show out of the casting process for next season. A number of potential new cast members were introduced, and at the end of each show one would be eliminated - until the final show, where one of the remaining contestants would win a regular appearance gig on Glee.
The format of the show was pretty standard reality-show stuff, but since the decisions were made each week by the Glee staff - we also got to meet and listen in on them each week. 5 main staffers were featured each week - choreography, direction, vocals, production, and creative lead (Ryan Murphy). These staffers were the real heroes of the show - because they were incredibly friendly, encouraging people. They weren't just friendly for show, either - we listened in on them having frank discussions about the contestants, and they were uniformly caring and thoughtful.
The Glee Project, then, has provided me with a studio-level marketing story for Glee. I'm not just excited about the new season of Glee because I like the show - I'm excited because I want to support and encourage the sort of good work those behind-the-scenes staff members are engaging in.
People are interesting, and your studio is full of people. Using that asset to create a compelling marketing story is a proven strategy for success.