What Is G?

From Ad Age: {link no longer active}

PepsiCo restaged its iconic Gatorade brand earlier this year. According to Beverage Digest, Gatorade’s volume plummeted 18 percent in the first half of 2009, when the effort, from TBWA/Chiat/Day, Los Angeles, asked and then answered “What is G?”

Under increased pressure from rivals Powerade (Coca-Cola) and Vitamin Water (Glaceau), Gatorade started rebranding itself simply as G with a consolidated marketing plan that included huge sports figures and massive TV budgets.

So far the efforts don t seem to be paying off, especially with younger consumers who are facing brand confusion instead of just seeing G as cutting edge.

Gatorade says there will be marketing changes in early 2010 to stop the precipitous slide, but no details were given on how they intend on getting the youth audience to stay put with Gatorade.

Reminds us of how Modern Warfare 2 was Modern Warfare 2 until Activision realized it would sell significantly less copies of the game compared to calling it Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.

New Position Available: Twintern

Adweek has a fascinating interview with the country s first ever Twintern, or Twitter intern.  Pizza Hut hired Alexa Robinson to manage their Twitter feed and has helped increase their feed’s reach from 3000 followers to over 15,000 during her tenure.

From the Adweek interview: {link no longer active}

I think the most surprising thing has been how open the senior management is to the fact that my position exists and of moving further into the social media space in general. I know a lot of companies are hesitant about getting involved in the online space, or they’re not sure it’s a place for their brand. None of that hesitation is present at Pizza Hut. It definitely reflects on the company as an innovative leader. Brands want to be where their consumers are, and where those consumers are having a conversation. You definitely want to be a part of that so you can contribute more. If your consumers are all on Twitter, why wouldn’t you join in? 

How well Pizza Hut monetizes those 15K followers is anyone’s guess, but the Twintern position shows how important marketing has gotten for corporations wanting a foothold on Twitter.

Marketers <3 iPhone

Ad Age has an article on the love affair between marketers and the iPhone, and how it may not be all it’s cracked up to be.

From Ad Age: {link no longer active}

But marketers would be foolish to see the iPhone as the end-all in mobile marketing. So when is it time to branch out? And what’s involved? 

Ad Age goes on to talk about how development on the Google mobile platform Android and others are clear avenues for success when the iPhone route exhausts itself.

Of particular interest to marketers should be the actual usage these apps see on a regular basis.

Some marketers might do well to ask themselves whether they need an app at all. In many cases, the mobile web can accomplish what apps purport to do — and it can be accessible to a lot more users. Only 20 percent of U.S. mobile users carry a smartphone, and interest in apps can flame out quickly. In analyzing 30 million iPhone app downloads, analytics firm Pinch Media found only about 20 percent of consumers return to use a free app after the initial download; 30 days later, less than five percent are using it.

What has your experience been with iPhone apps in marketing to your audience?   Worth the cost and effort or are you underwhelmed?

Video Of The Day: Classical Music Break

High school music assemblies are a crapshoot and you never know what to expect, which makes today s video of the day so fun.

A quartet out of Seattle delighted an audience with classical renditions of main video game theme songs, from Mario to Halo, and even Pong. It s worth a listen, including the laughs thanks to the accompanying performance dance routines.

AFK: Easy Light Write

Today’s AFK looks at a tool that makes light writing a snap (if you don t know what light writing is, take a look at the embedded video for Sprint).

The spray can style evokes the feeling of graffiti while the interchangeable LEDs allow for a number of different designs that can be captured through stop motion photography.

We want one of these right now.

Video Of The Day: Players Only

Digital Trends press release:

Technology supersite Digital Trends today announced the debut of season two of its popular PC and video game show Players Only with Scott Steinberg. New episodes of the acclaimed documentary series, which offers viewers an inside look at the $22 billion interactive entertainment business, will be available starting today and every Monday from August 17-September 28 at http://www.digitaltrends.com/playersonly. The action kicks off immediately with a special two-part season opener, as the biggest names in gaming cast aside the industry s recession-proof image and reveal whether or not video games are ultimately destined for extinction.

In addition to regular episodes, which are free to distribute via all electronic forms, Players Only with Scott Steinberg’s 2009 run will also feature the premiere of multiple extended Director’s Cut editions, available exclusively at DigitalTrends.com. Topics covered this season will range from the changing face of game design and journalism to the rise of indie games, social networks and devices like the iPhone and Microsoft’s motion-sensing Project Natal control system, which are quickly reshaping the future of play. Hosted by noted PC and video game expert Scott Steinberg (http://www.thevideogameexpert.com), the show will also feature guest appearances by game industry stars such as David Perry, Cliff Bleszinski, Chris Taylor, Ted Price, Ian Livingstone, John Romero, Lorne Lanning and Brad Wardell.

Their first episode is embedded below, and it’s our video of the day.

{link no longer active}

Perfect Teammates: Sports Illustrated and Madden

Madden NFL 10 comes out in a matter of weeks and EA is making a significant push to get the game in as many hands as possible.

The video game publisher is trying something new with Sports Illustrated and is offering a console version of the game with any new subscription to the magazine.  The package retails for $49, so for those gamers looking to purchase the $60 game, this may be right up their alley.

This is an obvious but innovative way to communicate directly to the football fan and sports gamer in a way we haven t seen before.  The deal looks to be mutually beneficial to both parties, and we wonder if this is the first of many sports tie-ins to come between the two companies.

[Time via Joystiq]

Interesting Madden Incentives At Wal-Mart

From Kotaku: {link no longer active}

First off, Wal-Mart stores will have a limited edition Gillette Fusion NFL razor for sale with the game, with handles featuring your favorite NFL team. It doesn’t specify that this is the Gillette Fusion Gamer, but seeing as that’s just the normal Fusion marketed at gamers, it might as well be the same thing.

Then come the roses.

It seems as though Wal-Mart also understands the plight of spouses during Madden football season, and is moving their supply of dozens of roses to the electronics department to take advantage of the rush, cutting the cost to $8.

Throw in the razor blade and a $10 pre-order gift card, and you ve got yourself one helluva marketing offer.

Wii Vitality Sensor Marketing Begins

At this year s E3, Nintendo showed off the Wii Vitality Sensor, a pulse-detecting Wii peripheral that fits snugly onto your finger.  The peripheral was met with some laughter and derision, but remember when the Wii Balance Board (with Wii Fit) was met with the same sort of apathy?

Fast forward by several million $90 Wii Fit units sold, and no one should doubt Nintendo again.

Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata held a brief Q&A at a recent Nintendo investors conference, and he knew he had to start the marketing of the Wii Vitality Sensor early, lest it stay a joke.

From Nintendo:

[Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata:] What we are trying to propose first is a video game with a theme of relaxation, which is completely opposite from traditional ones, to enrich the users’ lives. Especially among those who are constantly busy, I am sure you have experienced not being able to go to bed even when you are so tired after a busy day at work and coming home late at night… What if you were able to visualize how to unwind and relax, or check the condition of your automatic nerve by simply inserting your finger in the device once a day

Iwata also discussed the Wii Vitality Sensor in direct context of the Wii Fit.

Before Wii Fit launched, everyone doubted how well it could sell. As for Wii Vitality Sensor, I think it will face similar doubts as to whether such a product will sell well in the video game market. Of course no one can tell how people respond to it before the launch. We understand everyone wants to enjoy a vibrant lifestyle, so I believe if the product could support that desire, it would make a large impact in society.

Lastly, if you’ve grown tired of nifty (re: fad) Wii peripherals, prepare yourself for more.

We are hoping to make one such proposals a year, or every two years at best, to try and realize what no one has ever done before.

The hurdle will be in how to market these things, but Nintendo has shown strength in marketing outside their normal audience with Wii Fit, Brain Age and the Personal Trainer series of cooking and knowledge games.

Silent Hill: The Haunted House

From Dread Central:

Here at Dread we’re absolute suckers for haunted mazes and attractions. Last year we saw more than our share of badass parks from Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights to Knott’s Scary Farm…but one of the stand-outs was Jeff Schiefelbein’s jaw-dropping “SAW: The Haunted Attraction” in Orange County, CA.

Universal has since snatched up the SAW universe for its annual Horror Nights, but Scheifelbein has done something even cooler: He’s partnered with Konami to create “Sinister Pointe” – a new haunted attraction featuring several new mazes including one based on (are you ready for this ) the Silent Hill universe!

We really love the idea of an actual real world representation of one of th emost immersive video game series, and while we didn t see the Saw attraction they re talking about, it will be fun to see how this one turns out.

Even if it seems a bit small, Konami is really getting to a core horror demographic with this one, and we love it.