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January 20, 20071 Comment

ON: Second Life – Is it Safe For Your Brand?

Over the last few weeks I have fielded a number of questions about Second Life.  I constantly ask... "What are you trying to accomplish?", of my marketing counterparts and then I will answer weather Second Life is for your brand. 

I think  a great article was written by Shankar Gupta.  She covers the risks that a brand can have if they take to second life.

THE LONGER LINDEN LAB'S SECOND Life sits in the media spotlight, the more likely it is to burst into flames. This month, the independent gaming press notes a brewing Second Life backlash, even as marketers and media companies like Scion, iVillage, Dell, IBM, Song BMG and others rush to join the virtual world.

I've already confessed my skepticism about Second Life's value to marketers, and it's puzzling that the marketing community that "wouldn't be caught dead" on somewhere like MySpace would be so enthusiastic about Second Life. The conventional wisdom about advertising against user-generated content is that UGC has a lot of viewership, but advertisers don't want to get caught with their brands next to bum fights, racism, child porn, dictator execution videos, or what have you.

Second Life provides the same--or worse--pitfalls, but with a tiny, tiny fraction of the audience offered by social media like MySpace and YouTube. I'm sure some blue-chip advertisers would be mortified if their ads turned up next to the racy party pics of a twenty-something on MySpace, but much more offensive things can happen in front of a brand name in the virtual world. Take CNET as an example. In December, when the publication interviewed controversial Second Life businesswoman Anshe Chung, their theater--bedecked with CNET branding--was attacked by griefers who bombarded Chung with flying, animated penises. Here's a link to the video on YouTube, for the curious.

CNET handled the event with admirable good humor, but it's doubtful that other brands would feel the same way. And just as it was in vogue last year to send reporters into Second Life to bring back tales of the wondrous virtual world, in 2007, editors will be looking for stories of the violent, the sordid, and the homicidal. 

Makes MySpace look pretty tame, no?

So if a youth market is your strategy? How much control do you give away? wuld love to hear back.

ON: Second Life – Is it Safe For Your Brand? via @jpenabickley

January 9, 2007No Comments

ON:Burger & The Creepy King

Mediapost's Gaming Insider reveals the top gaming experience on the Xbox 360 this year isn't "Gears of War", but rather, the Burger King.

Microsoft and Burger King can't stop talking about how "Sneak King," "Pocketbike Racer," and "Big Bumpin'" three advergame titles released late in November, have outsold "Gears of War," the current hot title for the 360. According to Burger King, they've served over 2 million of these titles at $3.99 each, with the purchase of a meal at any of their restaurants. The games all feature the BK mascot--the plastic-y king who is at once funny and terrifying, as well as the famous Subservient Chicken.

Burger King's advergame is stacking up to be one of the most successful such campaigns ever launched. It's not an especially crowded field--most advergames are Flash games, hosted on microsites, and played by cubicle drones and tech journalists wondering how they can possibly write 250 words on a game about bathing toddlers. But there are a few gems: "America's Army," produced by the U.S. government as a recruitment tool, is widely considered one of the most successful advergames. Twenty-eight percent of the visitors to the "America's Army" Web page click through to the recruitment page, and 19% of 2003's freshman class at the U.S. Military Academy stated they had played the game.

So what did Burger King do right? Company strategists leveraged an extremely recognizable, even iconic part of their brand--that creepy, creepy King--and they hired a firm that knew what it was doing to create the titles. The company on the job was Blitz Games, which developed "Fusion Frenzy"--a party game that amounts to a bunch of casual games slapped together. "Fusion Frenzy" was never a huge hit, but all its mini-games were fun and addictive, which is really all you need for a solid advergame title. Plus, they were selling Xbox 360 games for $4 apiece, when the standard price point is $60--a tough deal to pass up.

Play with The King: http://www.bkgamer.com/

ON:Burger & The Creepy King via @jpenabickley

January 5, 2007No Comments

ON:Kodak’s Jump Into the 21st Century

Thanks to my buds at Visual Goodness. I saw this and enjoyed the message of the Kodak evolution.  Great writing!!!

ON:Kodak’s Jump Into the 21st Century via @jpenabickley

September 12, 2006No Comments

ON: Air Guitar World Champion 2006

I needed a boost.  This video does not need an explaination.  Just enjoy!

ON: Air Guitar World Champion 2006 via @jpenabickley

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