Social Media meets FMCG: God of War + Mountain Dew, Bagels + Facebook

God of War III,” the latest installment in one of Sony PlayStation’s premier franchises, is gearing up for battle, and it’s enlisted as allies 7-Eleven and Mtn Dew. It’s the first game in the series that can be played on the PlayStation 3, and though it won’t hit shelves until March 16, the marketing campaign begins next week. Starting Feb. 1, fans of the Greek mythology-based action game can head to 7-Eleven when the Kratos Fury Slurpee flavor, created by Mtn Dew and the convenience-store chain, debuts. The drink will also come with a choice of four different “God of War” artwork cups. The cups will give each buyer a code that allows them to download a variety of content including behind-the-scenes video of the making the game, an animated theme of Kratos’ face, wallpaper for PCs and virtual items that unlock armor to use inside the game. Hanging neck tags on all Mountain Dew two-liter and 20-ounce bottles will also include codes that can be redeemed at slurpee.com.

Get a Free Bagel With Friendship in Facebook’s First Digital Coupon Campaign
Be my friend, get a free bagel! That’s the message Einstein Bros. Bagels is telling potential customers on Facebook, and, at least in visible numbers, it’s paying off. The bagel-and-schmear giveaway started less than three full days ago, and already the bagel chain has increased its Facebook fan count from a measly 4,700 to a massive 336,000-plus. According to the company, this is the first instance of a Facebook advertiser providing a free offer though instant digital coupons. Is free the social media marketing campaign of the future?

National Bagel Day Freebie (suddenlyfrugal.com)
Incredible God of War Collection announced for PS3 (Update) (destructoid.com)
Buy the Kratos Fury Slurpee at 7-11, get free GoW III DLC (destructoid.com)
Einstein Bros and Noah’s Bagels Newest Facebook Promotion: Free Food (insidefacebook.com)
God of War III Slurpee tastes like Kratos’ fury; it’s delicious (joystiq.com)

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Gaming: Moms, Girls

The Xbox 360 is utilizing a marketing strategy that is reminiscent of the Tupperware and Mary Kay Cosmetics parties of old and despite the radical change in product, the target audience hasn’t changed. To that end, Microsoft recently invited 1,000 women from around the country to host events in their homes as a way of showcasing many of the Xbox’s new web-based games and services to their family and friends.
tupperware_92

Girl Gaming
Until recently, gaming has always been regarded as a male-dominated activity, especially as games ripe with shooting, action, sports or racing continue to break sales records with their mass appeal. Due in part to the popularity of the Nintendo Wii and the portability of the Nintendo DS, new data suggests that the girl gaming market is bigger than first thought and has room to grow. Research also suggests that girls tend to favor more social and collaborative games with less competition and more opportunity for personalization and nurturing.

gossip_girl_site

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Anomaly Leaves Second Life

Yes, I can announce that the Anomaly avatars have left the building … their “Company HQ” in the Tenjin sim has been vacated. Unbeknownst to many (they didn’t talk about it much) Anomaly were actually fairly early adopters of Second Life. They bought a plot (near to PSFK Island, as it ‘appens) back in 2005 I think. If they called themselves an Ad Agency, they could probably claim to be the first to have built an office in this part of the metaverse. I discussed it briefly with Anomaly partner Johnny Vulkan, who by that stage was fairly dismissive of the opportunities the virtual world offered marketers. Their only client to venture in to Second Life was Enviga (against Anomaly’s advice). Enviga eventually built a large green Enviga-drinking robot in Anomaly HQ and left it at that.

anomaly

Purple pundit Piers Fawkes of PSFK (indulge me in my aliteration) was also eventually underwhelmed by Second Life. Anomaly neighbour and virtual pioneer Piers at one stage referred to himself as a “big time property developer” and “marketing consultant” in Second Life. He was quoted some time later as saying that “Second Life [wasn’t] much good for marketers“, presumably something he had learnt from experience. That said, his (rather ramshackle looking, slightly vandalised) virtual island HQ remains.

psfk-second-life

Who else is left? Crayon’s slightly stalinist-looking and underpopulated sim (traffic count: 32) remains. Crayon claimed to be the first agency to launch in Second Life (and indeed, the launch itself was actually held there). To my knowledge Crayon’s only Second Life client engagement was Coke’s Virtual Thirst, an effort which received mixed reviews at best.

crayonville

Leo Burnett at one stage built a giant tree (replete with caged birds and apples) but they have now also departed. Their space was apparently envisioned as a place for international collaboration.

burnett-sl

BBH built a (rather bland looking) office back in 2006 – also claiming to be the “first” – and said office for the moment is still there. It actually looks fairly well maintained, if unevolved and sterile. The only evidence of client involvement is a rather large Levi’s poster.

bbh-second-life

My views on marketing through Second Life? Well, I’d start by saying “don’t knock it until you’ve tried it”. There seems to be a dichotomy between those who piled in to Second Life without thinking it through particularly well (net result: lots of money spent and little to show) and those who rejected it out of hand (net result: nothing spent and nothing learned).

As with any marketing experience, success depends on objectives. Want to reach a lot of people quickly? Second Life probably isn’t for you. Want to reach and connect with tech-savvy 30-something virtual world enthusiasts (hey, someone might) then it might make sense.

Thoughts?

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Metaverse: Gran Turismo v Nissan, Second Life v Penises

The new “Gran Turismo” game from Sony was up against some stiff competition, so for the promotional campaign it teamed up with Nissan to help spread the word. A competition was created offering the chance for an unsung racing driver to compete against the very best. Consumers had to register for the contest on the website or via their PlayStation 3 and then complete a virtual lap of a specific racetrack, in a specific car, on their console. The best drivers were invited to compete for real on a racetrack, and the champions in those races then went head-to-head in a GT Academy in the UK. The two ultimate winners were then signed up to represent Team Nissan in the 24-hour endurance race in Dubai in January 2009.
Pay no attention to the furry avatar behind the curtain. Linden Lab has a new pitch for Second Life: it wants to be a 3D teleconferencing platform for enterprise customers. Today the company announced a new product called “Immersive Workspaces,” an area in Second Life set aside for corporate meetings. Of course, you could already do that years ago, but this new product is “a completely exclusive and secure experience, with no connectivity to the Second Life mainland.” In other words, business users can be confident no one will crash their event with a barrage of flying penises.
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Gaming: Videogamers (apparently) aren’t Losers, Virtual insanity

There is an old curse that goes like this: “May you live in interesting times” It doesn’t get any more interesting than two recent strange news stories about digital worlds sparking irrational behavior in the real world. These two items illustrate the weird problems we could be encountering on a regular basis as bleed-through increases across the border of the real and virtual worlds.
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Gaming: Scion Shootorials, Dark Orbit

Scion Shootorials for Gamers
This week, Scion apparently added a new online game to its branded entertainment portfolio. In coordination with Kongregate, an online game developer, Toyota has launched a new website for young and aspiring game developers. The site, titled ‘Labs’, can be accessed through Kongregate’s web page. It allows developers to create their own video games from scratch. With this feature, site users can download tutorials or “shootorials” (as they are called on the site), because developers are asked to create a shooter game. The Scion sponsorship will last for eight weeks.

Work your way up in your company and conquer new sectors in foreign galaxies. In DarkOrbit you will experience all sorts of action, an exciting gameplay against thousands of real-time oponents and you have the chance every month to win $10,000!
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Metaverse: Forbidden City, Google Ads for Games, Game Over for Second Life, Obama’s Got Game! Amazing Worlds

The only way to get a true feel for the Forbidden City, the vast moated palace built 600 years ago for China’s emperors, is to peer into its grand multi-eved halls, cross its expansive plazas and stroll through its surprisingly intimate private gardens. But for those unable to make it to central Beijing, US technology company IBM and the curators of what is now known as the Palace Museum will today unveil the next best thing: a virtual Forbidden City offering the kind of immersive and interactive online experience pioneered by multiplayer role-playing games such as Second Life. The virtual palace, accessible to anyone with an internet connection and a reasonably new computer, offers the chance to explore it in the guise of an online avatar, talk to other visitors via text messaging, join automated tours and take part in activities such as archery.
AdSense for Games delivers video ads based on intended placements, as well as image or text ads based on contextual targeting with keywords and tags supplied by developers and publishers. Advertisers are charged on a cost-per-impression or cost-per-click basis, and ad revenue is split between Google and game
developers or publishers.
Second Life, the social networking phenomenon of the past two years, may have passed its use-by date as a mass marketing tool. Two years ago, brands such as Telstra, IBM and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation joined the online game that allowed people to meet as digital “avatars” in the world created by Linden Labs.Second Life came with its own currency, people could buy land, and money earned in Second Life could even be converted to real currency. Last month, Tourism Victoria pulled the pin on an investment in the ABC’s Second Life Island, where it had built a replica of the popular Lanes precinct on the island to promote it as a tourist destination. Tourism Victoria said the investment, albeit small, was no longer worthwhile.

Obama’s In-Game Advertising
Earlier this week, Xbox Live gamer Dragunov765 posted photos of ads for Sen. Barack Obama — which purportedly appeared in a game called Burnout Paradise — in a gaming forum called Rooster Teeth
“Early Voting has Begun!” the ads proclaim alongside the image of Obama, his face framed by a halo of light. “VoteforChange.com.”

Amazing Worlds
With Headquarters in USA and Singapore, Amazing Worlds builds and maintains the 3D Online Mirror World for people to learn about places and things to do in each country/location. Founded in 2007, the company aims to work with organisations and business partners globally to build the most interactive real mirror image (3D) of the world’s interesting places for the Global Audience.

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