Round Up: Social Media Marketing Tools

Our media monitoring friends at Meteor Solutions forwarded this round-up of social media marketing tools compiled by Mashable.  Marketers sweating out managing their next social campaign or monitoring what consumers are saying on myriad networks should know there are eighteen service providers who can help.  The list covers tools available for content publishing and syndication, site monitoring, content tracking, and campaign measurement.

Read more at Mashable.

Game Publishers Chasing Ladies, Says Wall Street Journal

Reporting for Wall Street Journal, Yukari Iwatani Kane writes that there is a growing battle among game publishers for products aimed at female gamers.  Analysts think the move comes from the frustration publishers have felt in trying to continue to grow the core game market.  One analyst from Arcadia Investment cites that mainstream games have been the primary drivers of growth in the game industry in recent years.  Kane points out how the growth curve started with Nintendo’s achievements in creating mainstream fare for Wii and DS, including fitness and caretaking games aimed directly at women.

Wedbush Morgan Securities estimates that female players currently account for 40 percent of the game market, up from 12 percent estimated by research firm IDC in 2001.  A five percent increase in female gamers represents nearly a billion additional dollars in revenue for the industry, says Wedbush Morgan.  Among major publishers gearing up with Holiday fare to duke it out for female market share are Nintendo, EA and Ubisoft.

Read more at Wall Street Journal.

Sony Ericsson Launches PS3 Compatible Phone

Sony Ericsson has launched its PS3 compatible mobile phone Aino in the UK, reports  The Aino is designed to operate functions and access content from a PS3, much like the PSP, but do so through the phone network in addition to wi-fi.  The phone is retailing in the UK for more than $600.

Sony says remote play functionality for Aino over 3G networks is possible, but it still hasn t confirmed which carriers will enable it.


USA Today ‘Celebrity Gamer Profile’ Is Good PR

Jack Black was the featured celebrity in Mike Snider’s latest ‘Celebrity Gamer Profile’ for USA Today.  Naturally Black was there to plug the recently released game that has his name in the marquee, Brutal Legend.   Black has game savvy, as someone who started playing arcade classics, and his experience reflects his LA upbringing.  He says a burrito shop was the first place he ran into an arcade game sitting next to pinball machines.  The rest of America might better relate with bars and pizza places.

This is the second feature of its type from Snider, the original being a profile of Seth Rogan back in March.  Marketers pushing celebrity-infused games take note, USA Today may have the perfect PR opportunity for you.

Read more at USA Today.

Ads Make Games Better, Says Massive

JJ Richards, GM of Massive, breaks down the argument for in-game ads into a patriotic proposition.  If asked if they like taxes, people will say no.  If the question is changed to whether they like living in the U.S., which most know taxes heartily, their answers change.

Talking to Ars Technica, Richards says his company has changed the question when it comes to asking gamers about in-game ads.  Research at Massive focuses less on the broad question and more on discovering where ads would be acceptable.  They put gamers in environments where a lack of ads would shatter the game’s sense of realism, for instance Times Square in New York, and found gamers change their stance quickly.  Richard says the key to successful in-game advertising is managing ad placement so it enhances the experience.  It s something Massive feels so strongly about they ve turned down clients when their brand didn t fit a game.

Read more at Ars Technica.

Happy Ads Are Here Again

After a spate of ads that tried to leverage the doom and gloom of the recent economic downturn, advertisers are changing their tune to optimism.  Reported by NY Times, recent ads are choosing to harvest consumer optimism for an American turnaround over the daily realism that the economy is still in the dumps.  The move is exemplified by spots for GE, Bank of America and Levis, among others.

Read more at NY Times.

Academics Explore Benefit Of Adaptive Games

Researchers at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark are exploring the effects of games that adapt to players, reports New Scientist.  They believe that adaptive games that recognize a player’s skill level or game play style, then adjust accordingly, will enhance the experience.  To prove their point, the researchers jerry-rigged Super Mario Brothers to vary difficulty such as enemy frequency and length between gap jumps.  They then tested two versions of the game to find user frustration levels with the harder version.

The test as described by New Scientist seems simple, and the results obvious.  The adaptive game concept might be interesting to any game marketer or executive who has argued for better difficulty balancing and some degree of handholding to help sell a game to mainstream players.  This might also sound familiar to said marketer/executive.  As a professor from Georgia Institute of Technology tells New Scientist, there will be resistance to the concept from the artists.

Read more at New Scientist.

Bloomberg Buys BusinessWeek

Financial services and media giant Bloomberg is acquiring BusinessWeek magazine from publisher McGraw-Hill.  As reported by MarketWatch, financial terms weren’t disclosed but the deal is estimated to be in the $2-5 billion range.  The publisher had put BusinessWeek up for sale this summer, citing a big decline in ad sales.

BusinessWeek claims 4.8 million readers in 140 countries.  Bloomberg sees the magazine, and no doubt the venerable BusinessWeek brand, strengthening its offering of financial news through print, web and online.

Read more at MarketWatch.

Alfa Romeo MiTo Channels Space Invaders

Alfa Romeo is taking the video game inspired car commercial to the next level.  AdFreak is featuring a TV spot for the Italian carmaker s compact car MiTo that channels Space Invaders.   The analogy has depth.  The presumably gas sipping compact car uses its headlights to destroy swarming hordes of oil drums and gas pumps.

The ad’s slogan get to the next level is another nod to games.

Watch it at AdFreak.

Fox Dallas Cowboys Skit Draws More Hollers Than Hoots

Fox aired a bizarre, unflattering parody of the Dallas Cowboys during Sunday NFL coverage that s drawn viewer scorn, reports Ad Age.  The cartoon skit was presented as sponsored content from Burger King.  It depicts three Cowboys including quarterback Tony Romo and head coach Wade Phillips mocking their poor performance and cracking fat jokes about Romo’s celebrity ex-girlfriend Jessica Simpson.

In the Texas torch mob equivalent of a viewer survey outcome, the Dallas NBC affiliate polled viewers of the skit as 45 percent furious.

Watch it at Ad Age.