Turn Brand Managers Into ‘Brand Advocates’, Says Research Report

Researcher Forrester is releasing a report suggesting a radical shift in company marketing infrastructure to respond to the digital revolution.  Reported by Ad Age, Forrester’s “Adaptive Brand Marketing: Rethinking Your Approach to Branding in the Digital Age” suggests a key change in renaming and altering the role of the brand manager to become brand advocate .  It calls it a direct response to the changes brought on by digital media, enabling the brand role to be much more agile in creating media partnerships and consumer-centric in their approach.  Forrester also cites the ever growing importance of analytical data in market research, predicting that companies will seek marketers who are better trained in number crunching.

The report breaks down the shift into tactics for companies, exploring the change, looking at challenges, and even breaking down what skill sets to look for in this brave new marketer.  Read more at Ad Age {link no longer active}.

Game App For Film ‘2012’ Pushes ARG Boundaries

Alternate reality games continue to make headlines as the next frontier for entertainment and marketing, and the iPhone seems to be the platform of choice.  CNET has taken a spin with a promotional iPhone app for the upcoming apocalyptic action film 2012.   They see the ARG as taking the experience to another level.  One nifty feature: incorporating the ability to make live calls from a player’s contact list for help with clues in the game.

As iPhone developers see it, 2012 and other ARG apps are just the beginning.  As the devices keep improving in tech and features, designers will keep exploring how to leverage this new gaming platform and mode of game play.  CNET sees it as the evolution of entertainment on smart phones.

Read more at CNET.

GameStop Director Sells 2.3 Million Shares

Gamestop director Leonard Riggio has reduced his stake in the video game retailer, reports Gamesindustry.biz.  The story first appeared in Bacons, pegging profit taking by Riggio at $60 million on 2.3 million shares sold last week.  Riggio still holds a 5.5 percent stake in the company with 9.1 million shares.

Analysts are giving mixed reactions.  An analyst from Form4Oracle told Barron’s the move is an ominous sign for Gamestop.  He notes that Riggio also held retail stock in the company he chairs, Barnes & Noble, but chose to sell Gamestop.  Wedbush Morgan Securities Michael Pachter counters that notion, telling GI.biz that Gamestop’s business is sound and preparing for a sales rebound in games.

Read more at Gamesindustry.biz.

‘Uncharted 2’ Strikes Gold At Review

The number of perfect scores from major press is one of the most striking things about the Metacritic score chart for Uncharted 2: Among Thieves.   At the time of this post Sony s PS3 game has more than 50 reviews averaging out to a score of 97 percent, without a single outlet scoring it below 90 percent.  Its average score already put it at number fourteen on Metacritic s all-time list, flanked by heavyweights Super Mario Galaxy and Metal Gear Solid 2.

The game s score earned it Metacritic’s universal acclaim tag, which happens to aptly describe the reviews.  There’s almost universal praise for game play, storyline and presentation in Sony’s game.  Check out the reviews through Metacritic.

‘Bioshock 2’ PR Campaign Augments Reality

Publisher 2K Games is deploying a multi-faceted PR campaign for Bioshock 2 that expands the game fiction into reality for game press and hardcore fans.  The game is developer 2K Boston’s sequel to the 2007 shooter that made waves for great game play and a stylistic steam punk premise.

Reported by Adweek, one phase of the campaign had 2K marketers planting bottles with promotional posters on beaches, depicting them as wine bottles washed ashore from the game’s undersea city setting Rapture.  With the help of game press they were able to get the word out on where fans could go look for the bottles.  Some ended up on eBay, which AdFreak points out resulted in more press coverage and PR impressions.  More recently, delivery men dressed up as coming from Rapture set the stage for a mysterious gift item for game community writers.  The gifts were custom crafted trinkets from the game.

Read more at AdFreak.

Prepare For YouTube Video Spam, Says Kaspersky Lab

That YouTube video looking link spammed to you might not be a virus after all.  Internet security provider Kaspersky Labs is monitoring mass emailing of YouTube video links by spammers, reports NY Times.

The trend of using YouTube s popular and free service to bulk market through the web is one that Kaspersky had predicted two years ago.  They expect it to continue spreading, and they think YouTube should be troubled by it.  YouTube’s automated system for tracking down illegal posts is designed only for licensed content.  The tool works by searching for digital fingerprints between videos to pinpoint if a user video is identical to a piece of licensed content in their library.  The system wouldn’t be able to track down new videos, even if they are as blatantly spam-ish as the one NY Times received selling Russian industrial real estate.

Read more at NY Times.

Advertisers Binging On Search Ads

Research is showing steady spending on search ads even as the rest of the ad sector contracted this year, reports NY Times.  Two research reports show little or no decline in search ad spends year over year, with growth in the five to ten percent range compared to last quarter.  The trend isn’t just benefiting Google, it’s helping Microsoft’s Bing maintain traction.

According to the article, Google gets about 71 percent of search ad revenues.  Bing s share is relatively small but gaining.  Researcher Efficient Frontier saw Bing s share of ad revenue grow by more than a fifth to 5.3 percent in the third quarter.  On the user side, it tracked 17 percent more clicks on Bing in the same quarter.  Another report by Search Ignite looked at revenue share compared to last year.  It found Bing share grew by 15 percent and Google by 5 percent, while Yahoo saw a 25 percent drop.

Read more at NY Times.

Canceled Games ‘Leak’ Videos

Early game video leaks laying bare rough visuals, early game play and other development warts can be disastrous.  If the game’s not in development, at least it gets you back in the press.  Game sites including 1up are showing two videos of games that were cancelled when their studios were shuttered.

It turns out now-closed EA Warrington had been working on a remake of the classic motorcycle racer Road Rash.   A video labeled Road Rash Raging Pre-vis surfaced over the weekend, showing game play very much inspired by the original.

Another shuttered studio, BottleRocket, had been working on an unannounced game when Namco Bandai very publicly took away their core project Splatterhouse.   While 1up reports rumors had circled about the studio working on a superhero Flash game, a video posted on YouTube by a member with the handle misterbigmouth confirms it.

Check out the Road Rash video here at 1up {link no longer active}.

Check out BottleRocket’s Flash video here at 1up {link no longer active}.

Fake Billboard Leaks PS3 Sequel ‘Resistance 3’

Sharp-eyed members of game community site NeoGAF may have pulled the veil on Sony’s expected but not yet announced sequel to hit PS3 shooter Resistance.   Picked up by 1up, the photos show a roadside billboard depicting the logo Resistance 3 taken at a Louisiana film set.  The filming is reported to be for the upcoming action movie Battle: Los Angeles being produced by Sony owned Columbia Pictures.

The even sharper eyed 1up has noticed that the logo has a New York City backdrop, hinting to the sequel’s setting.

Read more at 1up {link no longer active}.