Video Games as Mass Medium for Your Ads

By Matt Van Hoven 

You’ve read about ads showing up in video games, like in racing games where billboards shill Axe deodorants; a genius tactic aimed at potentially unsanitary gamers. But one type of game is taking the market by storm, and helping the music industry regain some of the profit its lost to the Web. The culprits: Guitar Hero and Rock Band.

Guitar Hero and Rock Band, no matter the iteration, have mass appeal. They’re easy to play, allow multiple players to get in on the fun, and generate good (depending on how well the user strums) music. What’s more, players can download extra music to suit their tastes.

These games and their music-downloading capabilities are marketing genius. Activision claims that “In 10 weeks since the game’s launch, consumers have already downloaded more than five million songs.” Hmm, we wonder if the music makers are happy they chose to license their tunes to Activision…Any guesses? The games are effectively advertisements for the music, and they put it in the hands of people who don’t have the time/will/talent to learn it on a real instrument.

And what about that phrase, “media-neutrality”. With Nintendo’s Wii and now Microsoft getting in on the games-for-everyone scheme, can we expect game platforms to take off as actual venues? For anyone who has used an XBOX 360 recently the answer is a resounding yes. Content of all kinds is available, including (as we mention here) including NetFlix, a person’s Windows Media Player content, and of course tons of games.

Each is a potential home for marketers and advertisers alike to reach consumers that are in front of the TV, but aren’t using it in a traditional way. Expect this migration to continue, and please for the love of God, feign from banners.

Case in point &#151 below, SuperSpy writes that former Berlin Cameron ECD Harvey Bernstein jumped ship and is now working at Rockstar Games. You may have heard of a little game series called “Grand Theft Auto” &#151 among others, that’s their baby.

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