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Old 09-13-2003, 05:01 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Location: Tokyo
Advergaming

ok.

so we´ve all being subjected to the subtle advertising art of product placement.
movies such as Minority Report spring to mind, as well as countless other films, television programs, video clips...etc.

but what do y´all think of the power of advertising/product placement within our favourite games?

i mean, with the power of the gaming industry is undeniable... with home video games raking in an estimated $8bil last year (thats an American stat).

but with this power, does anyone here have a problem at all with examples such as Sims including a McDonalds franchise that can be bought and developed throughout the game?

or with the games such as Grand Theft Auto being platforms for the actual release of new songs... does this piss you off, or is it an exciting development and recognition of the importance of the video game in our society?

or, on a different note... do you think the release of America´s Army, (by the American Army selling (well, not even selling, since its free) the armed forces to the youth), is a dangerous ploy, or a positive recruitment device?
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Old 09-13-2003, 05:14 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I think most people that downloaded America's Army simply though 'hey, free game!' Those who continued to enroll would have done so anyway.
But I'd actually hate to see the development of advertising in games. It could get out of hand, and that would not be a cool thing...
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Old 09-13-2003, 05:17 AM   #3 (permalink)
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If the adverts actually reduce the cost of a game, I'm all for it. Or, if it helps defer the costs of development so that they can produce higher quality titles, then again, I'm all for it.
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Old 09-13-2003, 07:51 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Location: Sydney, Australia
Speaking of the Grand Theft Auto series, I've noticed that the stores in Vice City are either generic or gently mocking cetain brand names such as the GAP or Starbucks. Ironically the PC modding community are the ones creating mods that can turn generic stores into real life chain counterparts.

I wonder if the brands notice this phenomenon and how much it would cost them to ensure that there's a mod allowing you to drive a Coke truck around Vice City. Probably the price of an email or forum suggestion to the modding community (ie $0.00). That's almost as absurdly subversive as the "fair trade" t-shirt I saw on a Starbucks employee the other day. This kind of "reverse culture jamming" is the cutting edge in corporate cunning.

Still, Vice City does have a flying DeLorean mod; a homage to 'Back to the Future 2', itself a film that gently poked fun at the advertising of the '80s - so I guess the battlefield is even once the modders have figured out how to manipulate the look and feel of their shiny new multi million dollar games.

And my #1 mod suggestion for the Sims' McDonald franchise...

<img src="http://www.heretics.com/images/pictures/bb/bb_big.jpg">

mouse-burger and French flies...
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Old 09-14-2003, 04:50 PM   #5 (permalink)
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As long as the game is good, I don't care if it uses brand names. If burger king were to release a piece of shit game called "burger master" where you had to throw burger king™ fries at evil "other fast food franchise" demons, then I would be a little disappointed.
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Old 09-16-2003, 07:13 PM   #6 (permalink)
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that game sounds insanely awesome i want it now!! die evil franchises!!!
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Old 09-16-2003, 07:38 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Remember "The Noid" for NES? 'Nuff said.
I think it is fine, as long as sponsors don't get any Jerry Macguire like input as to how the game eventually turns out.
As for the army game, as long as it has a level where you do nothing but lounge around a ghetto of a armytown underpaid and drunk, it seems accurate to me.
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Old 09-16-2003, 08:18 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Yeah, as long as the game isn't manipulated by the company, I'm fine with it.

The army game I am not fine with, because it cost too much money and it isn't fun. Seriously though, I just don't feel good about it, but not for any "real" reason. It just gives me a bad feeling in my gut.
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Old 09-16-2003, 10:33 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by floonine
The army game I am not fine with, because it cost too much money and it isn't fun. Seriously though, I just don't feel good about it, but not for any "real" reason. It just gives me a bad feeling in my gut.
since when is "free" too much money?

do you want them to pay you money to play it or something?

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Old 09-17-2003, 08:19 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Get in the Game by Chris Powell for marketingmag.ca
Quote:
As gaming increasingly chews into consumer time spent with traditional media,
marketers who don't want to be shut out are pushing their brands right into the content.

If you're a marketer or media buyer who thinks the notion of adding video games to your marketing mix is bananas...well, you might be onto something.

Last year, game developer Sega of America introduced a kid-friendly game for the Nintendo GameCube system called Super Monkey Ball. The object of the game is to guide a monkey encased in a transparent ball through a variety of mazes before time expires.

In a time-honoured video game scenario, players are rewarded with an extra life by collecting 100 of the bananas liberally scattered throughout each of the various levels. In an a-peeling bit of brand positioning, each life-giving banana features the Dole Food Company's distinctive sunburst logo.

Marta Maitles, director of communications for the Dole Fresh Fruit Company-a division of the Dole Food Company based in Westlake Village, Calif.-says the North American marketing initiative stemmed from a co-branding agreement between Dole Asia and the Sega Corporation of Japan. As part of the agreement, Dole bananas in Asian grocery stores bore a sticker promoting Super Monkey Ball.

"Sega was having such success with the game that when it came time to release it in North America, they asked Dole if they could have permission to keep the logos on the product," says Maitles. "Since the game itself was a very fun game and geared towards children as well as families, we thought 'it can't hurt.' "

Maitles says that since consuming Dole bananas extended the Super Monkey Ball character's life, the initiative was intended to generate a "monkey see, monkey do" response from younger players. Maitles says there's no empirical evidence the venture generated more banana sales, but there were calls to Dole's toll-free number from people pleased to see the Dole logo in the game.

Dole is one of a growing bunch of marketers harnessing the power of video games. It's an area some analysts, media practitioners and gaming executives believe is poised for explosive growth.

In a report issued in April, San Diego-based DFC Intelligence-a research and consulting firm specializing in interactive entertainment and the video game, streaming media and interactive television markets-projected that the worldwide market for video games, computer games and interactive entertainment hardware and software will grow to US$30 billion (C$41.3 billion) by 2007.

In yet another trend that speaks volumes about gaming's increased clout, many of this summer's blockbuster movies-including The Hulk, The Matrix Reloaded and the animated kids' flick Finding Nemo-were accompanied by a game spin-off. In some cases, such as Atari's Enter the Matrix, the video game delivers a storyline that runs concurrent to the movie it's based on-providing some of the back story the movie may not have time to deliver.

During his keynote address at the Canadian Media Directors' Council's annual conference earlier this year, Carat North America CEO David Verklin put gaming first on a list of seven trends to which people in the media industry should pay attention. Gaming, he told the assembled media directors, "holds a number of clues to the integration of advertising and content."

TIME FOR PLAY
One media agency has already given the (presumably swollen) thumbs-up to video game advertising. In June, Chicago-based Starcom MediaVest Group announced the creation of Play-a new division devoted solely to the consumer gaming market. Touted as the first company of its kind in the gaming space, Play will advocate the video game industry as a viable, measurable communications medium.

"In recent years, gaming has pervaded popular culture, the mass media and millions of households all over the world," said SMG CEO Jack Klues in a statement. "The gaming industry's financial influence is irrefutable. Larger than the motion picture box office in terms of revenue, and growing at three times the pace, gaming is a path to more than 145 million rapt customers of all ages."

Play will operate out of offices in Chicago and Los Angeles, but Paul Maher, CEO of Starcom MediaVest Group's Toronto-based operation, says the division's expertise will be offered to Canadian clients within the next couple of months.

"We see (gaming) as a valuable advertising medium and as a good learning experience in terms of how young consumers are changing the way they behave in terms of interactive communication," says Maher. "Play is not only about understanding the opportunities in gaming itself, it gives us a window into what happens in a more interactive media environment-which has implications across a number of different vehicles."

The allure of video games for marketers is two-fold, says DFC Intelligence president David Cole: It provides an avenue to a coveted demographic, while providing the type of "sticky, immersive content" that keeps consumers engaged.

Brian Coleman, director of marketing for Burnaby, B.C. -based EA Sports-a division of gaming giant Electronic Arts responsible for popular sports titles including the NHL, Madden and FIFA soccer series-says that a popular sports title can generate upwards of 100 hours of game-play.

"We know the hard-core consumers play the game on average five or six times a week, for one or two hours a session," says Coleman. "If I'm a hard-core NHL player, I'm playing full season and playoffs. I could be playing the season mode with my top three teams."

With North American gaming revenues having already surpassed box office receipts and closing in fast on the beleaguered recorded music industry, some gaming insiders are convinced the segment poses a challenge to other traditional forms of entertainment.

"The advertising community is waking up to video games because they're becoming increasingly more important in the entertainment mix of Canadians," says Ron Bertram, vice-president and general manager of Nintendo Canada. "When people go home and decide what they're going to do-watch TV, go for a walk, listen to music or play games-games are increasingly becoming one of the primary entertainment choices.

"As an advertiser and marketer, you have to be aware that TV's importance is dropping, radio's importance is dropping and video-gaming is more important."

But while marketers are expressing an interest in video game advertising, game manufacturers are also receptive to overtures from the advertising community. The reason? Well, money of course.

Many of today's games feature cutting-edge, photo-realistic graphics, complicated plot lines, licensed music and in some cases celebrity voice talent (Rockstar Games' crime saga Grand Theft Auto: Vice City features the voices of Ray Liotta, Dennis Hopper, Burt Reynolds and porn star Jenna Jameson; the upcoming Activision game True Crime: Streets of L.A. features the voices of Christopher Walken, Gary Oldman and Michael Madsen). All of these things cost money. Lots of money.

Developed from scratch-as opposed to simply grafting an update onto an existing gaming engine-an A-list title such as a Grand Theft Auto can be incredibly expensive to produce says Bertram (in a May state-of-the-industry speech, Interactive Digital Software Association president Douglas Lowenstein pegged the amount at between US$5 million to US$10 million, or C$7 million to C$14 million). "As technology develops, games get more and more expensive to make," says Bertram. "Anything that offsets the cost is obviously looked at."

While this doesn't mean we should expect to see characters like Lara Kraft or games like Labatt Blue Raider anytime soon, a precedent for such developments exists.

In the early 1990s, several prominent multinationals introduced branded video games for systems including the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES), Sega Genesis and even PCs featuring popular mascots of the time. In 1993, Virgin Interactive introduced a game called Cool Spot, in which players controlled the popular 7UP mascot Spot. The same company also introduced a game called McDonald Land, in which players embarked on a quest, sanctioned by Ronald McDonald himself, to help retrieve the Magic Bag from the evil Hamburglar.

Other video games- all bearing the US$50 (C$69) price tag that games of the day fetched-featured Dominos Pizza's Noid mascot (Yo! Noid, which also included a $1 off coupon for Dominos Pizza on the back of the instruction booklet) and the Cheetos mascot Chester Cheetah (Chester Cheetah: Too Cool to Fool and Chester Cheetah: Wild Wild Quest).

Such tactics would probably flop now says SMG's Maher, since today's consumers can spot a marketing ploy at 100 Mario paces. "They see through obvious marketing exploitation," he says. "If it's just blatant in-your-face traditional marketing put into the gaming environment, consumers are too smart for that."

DFC's Cole agrees that such tactics weren't the future of in-game advertising and are unlikely to make a comeback. Cole says today's marketing initiatives focus mostly on product placement, which he calls "a very limited area."
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Old 09-17-2003, 09:35 PM   #11 (permalink)
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As long as it's not too obnoxious, I don't mind it all that much... consider Crazy Taxi. That had real locations like KFC in it, and it gave a certain sense of realism to the city. (Not the gameplay, of course, which is still as far from realistic as you can get.)

Not a bad article, djp. I remember owning a Kool-Aid Man game for the Atari waaaaay back in the day... hasn't really influenced my consumer habits much, though.
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Old 09-20-2003, 09:41 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Advertising in sports games is ok by me. It's all for realism. I would be interested to see some numbers on the successfulness of video game ads. When you're playing a game, you don't care if that zombie is wearing a "Drink coke" shirt or holding a Pepsi, you blast him away anyhow.
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Old 09-20-2003, 11:05 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Enter the Matrix used PowerAid
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Old 09-21-2003, 09:13 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Well, at first I don't think I have a problem with it, cause when you're in a game that's supposed to be realistic, and you walk down a hallway and see a "COLD SODA" machine, it takes away from the realism. That machine should definately be "Coke" or "Pepsi" because that's what they are in the real world. The real world is covered in advertisments, it only makes sense that a realistic game should be too.

On the other hand, when I think about movies that use a lot of advertisment, it really pisses me off. The last one I saw that did this was "Cast away" and all those damn "FedEx" boxes. It just really annoyed me.... or maybe that was the whole turd movie that annoyed me. I dunno...
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Old 09-21-2003, 11:23 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by filtherton
Remember "The Noid" for NES? 'Nuff said.
I think it is fine, as long as sponsors don't get any Jerry Macguire like input as to how the game eventually turns out.
As for the army game, as long as it has a level where you do nothing but lounge around a ghetto of a armytown underpaid and drunk, it seems accurate to me.
Yes, it was actually called Yo Noid, IIRC. Big nosed creepy guy in a red bunny suit as a mascot for Domino's Pizza. He used a Yo-Yo as his primary weapon. I mean, WTF? Who comes up with this stuff?
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Old 09-21-2003, 11:28 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Argh, and there's the ever so subtle Matrix Reloaded game, which blows major chunks. It's one thing to be building a game based on a movie, but it's another to try to draw people in with hidden clips to the movie, which is the only redeeming quality to the game, and that's only if you're a hardcore fan of the Matrix trilogy and care about this stuff.
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Old 09-21-2003, 10:21 PM   #17 (permalink)
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If you've played any of the Wipeout games you'll have noticed the advertisements, I quite like those ones since they fit perfectly with the game, I mean Red Bull Energy Drink and a High Octane Futuristic Racing Car game? Solid.
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Old 09-24-2003, 05:09 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Location: Australia
Quote:
does anyone here have a problem at all with examples such as Sims including a McDonalds franchise that can be bought and developed throughout the game?

or with the games such as Grand Theft Auto being platforms for the actual release of new songs... does this piss you off, or is it an exciting development and recognition of the importance of the video game in our society?

or, on a different note... do you think the release of America´s Army, (by the American Army selling (well, not even selling, since its free) the armed forces to the youth), is a dangerous ploy, or a positive recruitment device? [/B]
This kind of stuff really bothers me - not so much the GTA example, but the other two: having McDonald's in the sim's is just a paid advertisement, nothing about the sims is realistic, and people play it to ESCAPE from reality so it's only purpse there is to advertise mcdonalds, sick.
Don't get me started on the army, I'll make too many enemies.
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