Monday, April 9, 2007

Video Game Spending Up

In today's eMarketer, the report stated how video game spending pegged at about a billion dollars for 07 will nearly double in four years. I think marketers are realizing the potential of video games and the power of product placement, especially interactive product placement. A few months ago, Microsoft bought Massive, an advertising company specializing in billboards for video games. We've seen the success of Burger King's XBox Games. I attended the King Kong premiere last year and instead of a goodie bag they asked me if I wanted a Playstation or XBox Game of King Kong. We've seen the launch of PS3's take on Second Life. And speaking of Second Life, we've seen the massive (no pun here!) press that it has gotten for being an interactive world where real money is transacted.

All of this points to a slow integration of products and services into the content that we consume. Interactivity is the key to building a strong brand. While celebrity and character endorsement is powerful, nothing is more powerful than experiencing something first hand, even if that is through YOUR avatar or video game character (or even yourself through Wii's new interface). I don't think as marketers we give people enough credit. I think they would very much like to be engaged with your brand, if your brand has something compelling to engage with. For example, watching ABC's prime time shows online, some of the commercials that are shown are simply TV commercials repurposed for the web. I can't wait to click on that Continue button. However, commercials that have a story line, or allow you to click to play a game or something that engages you with the brand during that mandatory thirty second break are more likely to be successful. You are actually interacting with that brand as opposed to mindlessly watching a 30 second countdown. In Second Life, you experience (or at least your Avatar experiences) the difference between regular shoes and Nikes. Likewise in video games (which if you think about it, Second Life is one big video game). Point here: keep your eye on this space and begin to develop your own branded content and allow consumers to use your content on their avatars or characters and they eventually may use them in real life.

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