Thought provoking: The future of In Game Branding

Prolonging The Time A Consumer Is Willing To Spend With A Brand

The typical advertising budget for a medium sized company can be larger than the budget for a next-gen game production. As the games industry keeps gaining focus from the public and other business areas, advertising agencies are not late to follow the trend.

Advertising agencies are going to continue to pitch campaigns based around games even more often than before. It’s all about prolonging the time a consumer is willing to spend with a brand. Playing a game is fun; you can do it for hours on straight. Put a recognizable logo anywhere in the game and you’re branding instead of playing.

Serious Games: Branding Instead Of Playing – Marketing & Strategy Innovation Blog

It’s happening all the time now… this new “licensing” of real world content existing in the fantastical worlds of gaming (online & console).  And, folks… it’s happening for the Youth too.

I’m not going to say whether I agree or disagree with it… There’s a lot of things these days I’m not necessarily “jazzed” with, but realize fighting would be like taking on Mount Everest in a bare knuckle brawl.  One of those “yeah, good luck with that” scenarios.

And to be honest, there have been a lot of articles lately saying that kids don’t mind the parallels – as long as they don’t feel like you’re “selling” to them.  Choice, right?  No one ever tells you to buy ANYTHING in Disneyland except for the entry ticket… but how many people can say they’ve successfully escaped without a boat load of crap (I, myself, am unable to leave without pirate gear or at least ONE new set of Mickey ears).

[side note: here’s an interesting “if you build it, and then you advertise on tv, kids will come” article to check out, click this link. Reminds me of a company I used to work for that always had the most innovative ‘freap – cheap + free’ ideas, but they never worked out because they weren’t in the eyes of the mass public on tv or the mass-peep sites]

That doesn’t make it right for youth, I know this.  And I occasionally struggle with the idea of upsell.  HOWEVER, there are times when branding & licensing seem to fit… make sense, and that’s mainly when it’s in direct correlation to your product’s context.  If you want the FULL experience that the game’s content can give you, you’re going to want those licensing-parallels.  It builds a stronger bridge from you to the fantasy, allowing for a deeper level of escapism & entertainment.

Sure, there’s always going to be the argument “how much is too much” and “is such indepth escapism what we want for our future generations”?  And selling-to-kids is such a hot-button issue for parents vs the biz.

For me, personally, it’s this constant battle of “okay, it’s gonna happen, if there was a RIGHT way to do it, what’s that RIGHT way?”  > research, plan, attack, etc.  Everything in life – especially on the net, is a work in progress.  Console games get a bit more of the “once its in the can, it’s in the can” luxury, unless they’re trying to make BANK off of the subsequent editions of that game.  They get to stop and restart, sometimes reset, their product.  Us webbers?  We’re always trying to keep climbing up that endless staircase, hoping to take more steps forward then steps backward… but, just like life – it’s not really the end of the staircase that matters, it’s the goals & hopes for the climb.

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