Game Marketers Talk Up Social Media

A panel of marketers from Activision, THQ, and developer Naughty Dog touched on successful social media marketing efforts for their games. Reported in MediaPost, the panel was part of the Digital LA event held in Los Angeles this week. Naughty Dog’s Arne Meyer talked about Twitter integration into the developer’s recent hit game for Sony PS3, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. The effort involved setting up the game to send automatic Tweets communicating things such as player achievements as people played.  The Tweets were linked back to Naughty Dog to drive traffic to the Uncharted 2 product site. Ben Collier of THQ discussed the Twitter and Facebook campaign for WWE Smackdown vs. Raw 2010, which he said drew six times the traffic they were able to generate through traditional community efforts for the game’s predecessor. THQ used Facebook Connect to launch a campaign where users could customize wrestlers, promoting a major feature in the game. Collier also said discount codes disseminated through social nets were used as incentive to convert their social media audience into buyers of the game.

 

Read more in MediaPost.

Sony planning PSN Subscription Model

Sony says it is looking at ways to monetize the PS3 online service PlayStation Network, reports CVG. The company revealed the plan at an investor’s conference, tipping off game media that the currently free service may soon mimic Microsoft’s Xbox Live. Xbox Live charges a monthly fee for premium services such as online multiplayer gaming. After some furor over the news, Sony’s Kaz Hirai has stepped in to clarify Sony’s plan. He says Sony wants to add subscription based premium content as additional services to what’s currently available for free. Read more at CVG

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Ad Age Viral Video Chart For Week Of Nov. 9

Ad Age’s weekly chart lists the top 10 viral videos from last week. There are no new debuts this week, but there are a couple of comebacks worth noting. After dropping off the chart last week off of a run of nearly five months, Microsoft’s Project Natal video is back in at number five with about 487,000 views. The more notable return with a lot of back story is Verizon’s There s a Map for That TV ad, drawing nearly 450,000 views to make number seven this week. The spot launched the mobile carrier s mud-slinging campaign questioning how well-suited rival AT&T s 3G network is for smart phones. Ad Age says it may have drawn extra attention this week after AT&T took legal action to label the ads as misleading and have them taken down. It lost the case.

Verizon’s enjoying quite a viral video run, with its Droid Does spot from the Droid app phone campaign also on the chart. It’s at number six with about 458,000 views. There’s more to note about the company’s viral video success. As Ad Age points out, the first time Verizon made the chart with “There’s a Map for That” it was because a YouTube user had recorded a video directly off of a TV set, meaning Verizon never released a digital version of the ad.  Since then, Verizon has made sure to post TV spots on its own YouTube channel.

Ad Age’s chart includes number of views for the week and percentage change in views for videos that stayed on the chart.  The list is compiled by Visible Measures.

 

Dirty, Dirty Bathroom

People Against Dirty, a campaign for awareness of chemical ingredients in cleaning products, has taken a comedic approach to why people should be worried about what s in their household cleaners. The organization has produced a video spoofing the Scrubbing Bubbles ads that depict a cartoon army of cleansing bubbles. Nowhere does the organization say they re targeting the specific product. Instead it seems they’ve taken a recognizable chemical cleaner with a long-running cheery campaign and turned the message on its head. It turns out that when those bubbles are done scrubbing they tend to stick around, thanks to chemical residue.

Brad Pitt Makes A Play For ‘Dark Void’

Brad Pitt’s production company Plan B and Indian filmmaker Reliance BIG Entertainment have optioned rights to make a film based on Capcom’s Dark Void, reports Reuters.  Capcom’s title, due in January, is a sci-fi shooter set in the Bermuda Triangle pitting humans against aliens from another dimension. The companies have called the project a possible starring vehicle for Pitt. Read more at Reuters.

Finding Good PR

Writing for Industry Gamers, Fusion PR co-founder Jennifer Campana has penned a piece with advice on finding the right PR practitioners. As an agency veteran, she offers decent insight such as avoiding yes people and those who overpromise, and making sure to get a balanced team of idea mavens and those who execute. Campana also touches on the growing importance of finding PR people who not only understand how to communicate through digital and social media, but also how to effectively measure results from them.  One of her best pieces of advice just might be what s too often overlooked quizzing the PR team to see if they re reading the people and places they pitch.

Video Ads Less Effective On Social And Casual Game Sites

Digital ad firm Eyeblaster has found lower engagement with video ads placed on social media and casual game sites, reports Adweek. The firm measured interaction and time spent with video ad campaigns it conducted over the course of the past year. It found video ads boost engagement overall when compared to other forms of digital advertising, but don’t perform as well on social nets and casual game sites. The firm says the amount of time spent browsing is the problem for social sites, where users were seen moving much more quickly between pages. Most video ads need users to remain on a web page for a period of time in order to auto-start. With casual gaming sites, Eyeblaster found that people are too focused on playing the game to stray their attention towards other content.

The Eyeblaster report is linked in the article. Read more at Adweek.

‘Avatar’ Product Tie-In Experiments With AR

Twentieth Century Fox has enlisted a number of brands to promote James Cameron s upcoming sci-fi film Avatar.” As reported in Ad Age, among them is Coca-Cola promoting its Coke Zero brand by running the film’s web site and executing an augmented reality campaign. The web site is focused on drawing viewers into the otherworldly universe of the film, one where humans wage a war against an alien species and can occupy alien clones bodies to fight them from within. The Coke Zero web site has minimal branding, and is instead focused on extending the film’s universe through videos, back story and other assets from the movie. One tactic in the AR component of the campaign asks viewers to purchase Coke Zero products tied into the film, such as an Avatar-branded Coke Zero can, and hold them up to their webcam to unlock film assets. Coca-Cola is planning to run TV spots for the cross-promotion describing the AR component of the campaign.

Ad Age says the campaign may do as much to raise awareness of AR enabled marketing as for the film itself.  Other major brands partnered to help promote “Avatar” include McDonald s, Panasonic, LG and Mattel. McDonald s is also running extensive tie-ins and running an Avatar-branded site geared to kids. Read more at Ad Age.

Jonas Brothers Heart Xbox 360

The Jonas Brothers have joined Microsoft s family-friendly push for Xbox 360. Writing for NY Times, Stuart Elliott reports that the youth skewed rock band is part of a multi-prong campaign for the console. The campaign includes TV spots, cross-promotion with the Disney Channel and other Disney youth properties, and a sweepstakes for a chance to win a gaming session with the stars. The brothers Disney Channel show Jonas will also get a promotion on Xbox 360, offering a free episode for download through Xbox Live.

The Jonas Brothers have said promoting Xbox is a natural partnership for them, having grown up playing Microsoft’s consoles and even taking them on tours. Elliott points out that the campaign is the latest in Microsoft’s family push, which includes a recent run of TV spots where actress Jane Lynch from Fox s sitcom Glee invades a family’s living room to highlight the console s kid-friendly fare. Read more at NY Times.

Report Reveals Online Gaming Habits

Researcher Gamesindustry.com has conducted a worldwide study surveying more than 13,000 people ages eight and up on online gaming habits, reports Industry Gamers. The study looks at how much game time people dedicate to massively multiplayer online games. Figures vary by country, from 14 percent in the US to only 8 percent in the UK, averaging out to about 15 percent worldwide. The study also found 21 percent of those surveyed in the US say they play MMOs while only 10 percent of European respondents said they do. Ages of MMO players varied between territories, with pre-teens being the primary players in the US while Europe skewed thirteen and up.

Gamesindustry.com included questions about mobile and casual gaming, finding among US console game players that 25 percent play mobile games and 55 percent play online casual games. The firm says the study shows how various forms of games are now competing for people s attention.