What if you were able to engage the fickle gaming audience without resorting to a watered-down message?
Video games tend to be synonymous with fun. Sixty-five percent of Americans play games, and they wouldn't pour countless hours into doing so if they weren't being entertained.
Ensuring that consumers receive the required enjoyment from a video-game experience can be difficult when you attempt to work in an integrated branded message. Consumers, especially gamers, tend to avoid or -- worse -- admonish unnecessary branded campaigns. Because of this, many brands are forced to lighten the message or focus on generic high-level branding.
What if you were able to engage this fickle audience without resorting to a watered-down message? Would you get in the game then?
Mars Inc. launched a campaign this summer leveraging game mechanics for its Revels chocolate confectionery product. The candy, sold in the U.K. and Ireland, comes with six flavors in the center: chocolate, caramel, coffee, orange, raisin, and Maltesers. The company used video games to empower its large consumer base to help bring in a new flavor.
The game experience in Revels Eviction challenged gamers to save their favorite flavors by choosing the least favorite for "eviction." Custom video cut scenes were utilized to deliver the unique scenario based on the player's selections, but also helped bring the brand character to life.
It would've been easy for the brand to put out a simple (and addictive) version of "Bejeweled" plastered with its logos and trademarks. However, it took the campaign a step further than general branding in the hopes that consumers would choose its product the next time they were at the checkout line.
This example offers a few interesting decisions that impact the future of branded game experiences and creates an opportunity for other brands to take advantage.
Some of Mars' key decisions:
In the end, Revels Eviction is a great example of leveraging video games to effectively communicate a campaign message to receptive consumers. While it won't set records like "Grand Theft Auto," Mars didn't sacrifice its message to create an innovative program. Now I'm hoping that caramel can hold its position. I'd hate to see my favorite flavor get evicted.
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Matt Story is director of Play, a division of Denuo. He oversees the West Coast operation, maintaining key publishing and gaming industry contacts for the agency. With expertise and perspective from both the client and the agency side, he brings to bear dual strengths: interactive and videogame advertising and how they can transcend and evolve a client brand.
Matt and his team develop unique gaming integration programs on behalf of General Motors, Procter & Gamble, Miller, and others. In March 2007, he played an integral role in the 2007 Pontiac Virtual NCAA Final 4 tournament, powered by videogame "College Hoops 2K7."
Before joining Play, Matt was interactive marketing manager across P&G's antiperspirants/deodorants category. During his four-year tenure, he managed the creation of the first P&G blog, which supported the launch of Secret Sparkle Body Spray. He also led innovative development with the Old Spice brand's in-game integrations in multiple key videogame titles. To hear more from Matt and the various creative minds at Denuo, visit Denuology for their unfiltered perspective on the world at large.
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