Sindo Magazine

Let’s talk a little about the advertising media industry.

Haven’t they been going through a pretty tough time? Print media is also taking a beating and that’s where they received a lot of their revenue… and TV… seriously who watches TV commercials these days? And then there are people like me who have replaced their TV with fast streaming internet. It won’t be long also till the average Indonesian will soon follow suit where other countries are currently using TiVo to save their TV viewing on hard drive, allowing people to just skip past those nasty tiresome adverts.

For those still sticking to the basics, let’s not forget that glorious ground breaking little invention that most TV owners conveniently place within arm’s reach – their ‘emasculating TV hand remote’. That invention itself has liberated us from the mind numbing drudgery of viewing repetitive, in your face, mindless adverts. Granting our thumb power to flick those irritating TV commercials effortlessly away. It could be that that whole TV advertising thing will eventually collapse.

As for adverts on the internet, let’s face it, they are mostly a joke, and I think we know that, when was the last time you actually clicked on a banner advert with any serious intention of A: ‘learning more’… or B: proceeding to purchase something related? I’d be fairly confident in saying ‘not many’. The only time I personally have ever had any real interaction with the common web based banner advert was when I clicked on a sneaky link that automatically generated an advert on my screen, whereby I immediately closed it… and on the occasional accidental click…

True of late, advertisers are becoming more and more creative and offering more attractive incentives for one to ‘click’. They are also becoming more intelligent and sneaky, scanning and analysing your web viewing trends, personalizing adverts towards your interests and whatnot. And then there are instances where some companies are stretching the boundaries of ethics… venturing into the grey zone of what is supposedly acceptable.

Let’s take YouTube, Facebook or even Gmail as an example, they scan your emails and messages so they can better direct their ‘legalized’ spam to invade your private business or otherwise zone with ‘related’ advertising materials. It’s certainly a clever and profitable practice for advertisers and the likes… But wasn’t there a time when opening someone’s mail was considered a capital offence, let alone scanning it for content analysis… So why do so many of us, me included continue to use these ‘free’ services. Probably because we A: We never read the small print, we mindlessly click ‘yes…yes…I accept’ and or B: as mentioned beforehand, we instinctively ignore these banner adverts, therefore we don’t bother to complain. 

I digress… Advertising people found themselves struggling to work out other areas where they could really dig their fingers in, Advergaming being one of those areas. Initially they tried a variation of naïve approaches that didn’t necessarily make a lot of sense at first. One may use McDonald’s as an example, where they went through a stage of plastering their logos in games that didn’t necessarily correspond with McDonald’s existing brand essence – Happy families, full of life, healthy etc i.e.

Their logo could be found stenciled onto bloodied walls found within war torn streets where demonic creatures prowl in search for human meat. Their argument would revolve around the fact that although generally speaking it may not initially be the most appropriate destination point for one to place their brand.

From their research however they discovered that for the average gamer that plays such games, displaying such adverts within these virtual worlds not only enhanced the realism of environment, this audience accepted this form of brand placement wholeheartedly. And so it became more of an issue concerning the value derived from lengthy brand exposure upon a hugely populated subculture. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not always a suggested practice to just take any advert and inject it into any game and hope for an appropriate or similar response. It may backfire completely.

So then advertisers started to try something a little more different, they began to make games based around products. By simply integrating their brand identity and other varying factors into simple arcade stylized games. These games worked out fine, but they kind of only go so far. Not to mention the fact, different brands were popping up with the same games, with minor graphic element adjustments.

They then started to develop more involved, immersive type games like ‘Farmville’ powered by ‘7 eleven’ and ‘Zinga’, where if you go to Zinga and buy a Slurpy, you will find a special code on the cup which provides you with ‘farm cash’. I think this was just the beginning where advertisers where beginning to realize the concept of virtual economies within these games are indeed powerful. People where starting to say ‘We want to make more virtual money…. We want more ‘World of Warcraft’ gold etc.

Suddenly advertisers are waking up and saying ‘we can give you that, that’s easy, that’s just like a little data thing, we will give you imaginary money, if you pay attention to our products.

To tie it off till next time, the point is, advertisers are starting to wake up to the huge advantages made possible through the clever usage of digital media, especially online Advergaming. They are finding new ways to develop richer applications that are aimed at advertising, and brand implementation.

Through the proper channels they are capable to create close bonds between customers and brands, exponential distribution via game players and their social networks, turning static gaming environments into fully dynamic and immersive realms. … along with providing improved methodologies for their clients’ marketing communication activities for future ventures.

Till next time

Published - Sindo Magazine – 2011