Branded Entertainment: In-Game, Around Programs

By their very nature, static in-game ads may be the least effective way for marketers to engage video-game players, says game developer Kevin Slavin. At the same time, he finds that ad agencies in general don’t really understand the dramatically different process of communicating with consumers from within a video-game system. This is second part of our interview with Slavin, a former ad agency executive and co-founder of New York’s Area/Code. The 4-year-old game-design shop has created games for A&E, Discovery and MTV.
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In television’s latest quest to discourage viewers from skipping ads, actors from NBC and ABC shows are appearing in character in commercials to interact with products in parallel story lines. This new kind of commercial further blurs the line between program and advertisement and comes as traditional product placements within shows, an early response to fast-forwarding, have become common. A series of spots that debuted this week weaves Palm Inc.‘s Pre phone more deeply into the story line of two prime-time dramas.
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The Sims 3 Sidekick

I was alerted to the new Sims 3 campaign by Alina. I was underwhelmed by their mandatory Facebook, Twitter, YouTube pages, but was intrigued by the Sim Sidekick (for a couple of minutes anyway). You can choose from six characters on the website, and the one you pick follows you around the web, interacting with site-specific responses designed for different sites. (The abovementioned  Twitter, MTV.com, YouTube and so on.) I took a random sidekick for a spin. He liked my blog (apparently) but wasn’t a huge fan of Facebook…

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Metrics an Obstacle to Integration, Women Gamers

While 59% of client-side marketers are satisfied with their companies’ progress toward integrating traditional and digital media, most also agree that inadequate metrics continue to be the biggest impediment to honing the media mix, a new survey of 294 Association of National Advertisers and American Association of Advertising Agencies members has confirmed. The study, which focused specifically on integration issues, found agencies’ biggest frustration to be clients’ lack of understanding of how customers use digital media.
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According to Nielsen Games, gamers are looking a lot more feminine then you might expect. True, the most-active console users fit the stereotype—male, ages 12 to 17 with annual household income of $70,000 or more. They mostly played PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. However, gaming has grown increasingly popular among older players, other demographic groups—and women. Women ages 25 and older tended to be more faithful to their consoles than men of the same age, making building customer loyalty among console-makers a good strategy. What games do men and women mostly play on computers? Solitaire, FreeCell, Hearts, Minesweeper and Pinball—all games that generally come prepackaged with many PCs.
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