Saturday, August 29, 2009

Week 6: Advertising, Promotion, and Public Relations in the Web World, 2

A couple of thoughts came to mind watching the presentation on advertising and video games:
  • Ads follow eyeballs. This principle was raised at the beginning of the presentation and I don't have any to add to it really, except to point out that I was impressed with how succinctly it expresses the fundamental m.o. for marketers (that, and I can't believe how expensive NASCAR sponsorships are!).
  • Don't mistake novelty for innovation. A billboard in a videogame isn't any more engaging than a billboard on a highway. From what I've picked up from "Always On" and the MedNet case study, marketing designed only to generate impressions is not particularly relevant anymore. Instead, consumer engagement should be the modern marketer's target. For those reasons, I found the Burger King and BMW approaches more compelling than the Orbitz approach (not sure to what extent my comments are contradicted by my actions - I've played those Orbitz-sponsored games many times, but never heard of the BK or BMW promotions until this presentation....).
  • My half-baked theory on product placement: I don't have anything empirical to back this up, but I instinctively believe that there is an aspirational quality to entertainment-based media. That is, there is a mild tendency for people to subconsciously emulate the characters and lifestyles they see on TV and other media. (There is something ironically circular to this, because to some extent the producers of this media are attempting to emulate their target audiences.) This is based just on personal experience observing subtle shifts in my and other people's behavior. For this reason, I imagine that subtle product placement has real power to influence purchasing decisions (subtle being the key word here).
  • Marketers, tread lightly. The point about players reacting negatively when being presented with ads after shelling out top dollar for a game really rings true with me. You don't see overt advertising on HBO, and I'd think HBO would be very careful about getting into product placement and other types of ad selling. In all fairness, I don't know how much I am representative of the general population - to extend the HBO example one more degree, I don't subscribe to cable tv because I'm deeply offended by the idea of paying to be marketed to (if you want me to walk out of your movie theater, show me some ads after the lights dim).

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