Exclusive: Building Desire In Los Angeles

Ayzenberg’s 2012 [a]list summits visited San Francisco, Los Angeles and Seattle with a series of events looking at how entertainment marketers are wooing consumers today. Aptly named “The Consumer Courtship,” the summits gathered industry legends, entrepreneurs, pundits, senior marketers, even a few super YouTubers. The topics varied from summit-to-summit but hovered around the rise of branded entertainment and how it feeds off of social media marketing.

[a]list daily is featuring a retrospective on the summits in three videos. In Part 2, Ayzenberg’s summit agenda creators Steve Fowler, Julian Hollingshead and Chris Younger look at Seamus Blackley’s keynote and a panel gathering super YouTubers SeaNanners, Tobuscus and OlgaKay from [a]list summit in LA this past May.

A Chevy In Your Stocking

Chevrolet has partnered for their holiday campaign with Dailybreak’s platform which includes 10 million consumers who have signed up for promotions that get pushed via social channels and email.

The effort, dubbed Home for the Holidays, begins today and runs through Dec. 31, pitching the chance to win either a Chevy Cruze, Sonic or Spark.


While signing up for the contest, consumers need to enter their email address and zip code.

To enter to win, participants answer a handful of trivia questions about such things as how to drive in wintry conditions, how many airbags Chevy’s economy-sized models include, and what drivers can do with the OnStar app.

Then, consumers need to create a virtual postcard. That process involves uploading a photo of the friends/family they’d like to see during the holidays, writing a short message about why they are excited to see their loved ones and then sharing the postcard on a social network such as Facebook or Twitter while asking friends/followers to vote for it. The number of votes combined with creativity, per Chevy, will determine which consumer wins a new ride.


Wii U Core Focus For Launch, Says Nintendo U.K. Marketing Director

With Nintendo’s launch of the Wii U, specialty stores like GameStop in the U.S. and GAME in the U.K. were important with hyping the event. Despite the rising importance of digital, Nintendo’s U.K. Marketing and PR director Shelly Pearce is keen to emphasize the partnerships with reail.

“Retail is still very important for us, I think it’s really important to have presence on the high street, and we know that a lot of people still choose to go into a store to buy,” said Pearce. “While we are seeing more people shopping on line and downloading games directly through the console, retail is still a very important sector and I can’t see that changing in the years to come. I don’t think that there’s going to be any dramatic change, certainly not in the immediate future.”

As for the British marketing campaign for the Wii U, Pearce says the campaign is “very similar” in terms of size and tone for the Wii launch. She noted that while TV is important, getting people to experience the console is critical.

“Also, I think the big difference with the Wii launch is that a lot of our marketing has been online,” said Pearce. “Obviously we’ve been very much out there talking to core Nintendo fans and we know that online is where a lot of them are gathering most of their information. So it’s become a much more important tool for talking to them. So we’ve had a lot of traditional online advertising etc, but we’ve also been filming the sampling activity and people’s responses and reactions once they’ve played Wii U – we’ve been uploading those to YouTube.

“We hope to launch tonight a YouTube channel that’s very specifically focused on the Wii U and people’s reactions, building up a bank of those. We hope people will be encouraged to be a part of that, adding their own reactions and comments to it. So that will be a large part of our marketing activity post-launch. Obviously we’ll also be moving into more traditional mediums for advertising like TV and print.”

When asked about whether or not there will be a Wii-like word-of-mouth buzz around the Wii U, Pearce frankly responded, “I think the market has moved on. I think with the Wii we introduced so many more people into videogames that we’re talking to a much broader audience now. But I think it’s also a symptom of the way that we are consuming media these days, I think the way that we’re doing that has changed fundamentally. I think people might see a TV ad but then go online to see what people think about it, to get comments and recommendations. So I’d say it’s more a sign of the times than any specific learning from Wii.

“The one thing I would say is that a big part of our marketing has been about talking directly to core Nintendo fans, we know they’re active online – that’s not just a good place to show them information, it also gives you a bit more of an opportunity to go into a bit more depth than a thirty second TV ad might.”

As for the focus of the marketing right now, Pearce said, “For us at this stage, we know that the people who are going to be interested in buying a Wii U at launch are those core Nintendo fans. So that’s very much who we’re talking to at the moment. At some point next year we will move on and talk to a broader audience – we’ve got games like Wii Fit U coming at some point, but we do see that as something we’ll looking at more next year rather than this year.

“Having said that, as I mentioned before, we brought so many people into videogames with the Wii that I do think there’ll be a mix of Wii fans who want it for things like Mario and Nintendoland and others who want it for more core games. In terms of our target focus, though, it is very much on that core Nintendo fan at this stage – they’re the ones who are going to go out and buy at launch.”

When asked about differences for the U.K. market versus the U.S., Pearce responded, “I’m very focused on the UK market, so I wouldn’t want to presume the subtle nuances of some of the other territories, but I think the one thing we do know genuinely about the UK is it’s quite an early adopter market, so we tend to be high consumers generally of new technology, I think things sort of take off quicker here, just if you’re looking at the rest of Europe – not Japan, because that’s in a whole different league of its own. So I’d like to think that we’d be getting a strong share of Wii U sales because of the market we tend to always be consumers who are avid adopters of new technology. And I think you see that across all types of new technology.”

Source: GamesIndustry International

THQ Humble Bundle Off To Hot Start

THQ has revealed their own offering to the Humble Bundle. The Windows PC offering for Steam includes Darksiders, Metro 2033, Red Faction: Armageddon, Company of Heroes, and the two Company of Heroes expansion packs: Opposing Fronts and Tales of Valor.

Those who pay over the average donation price for the bundle (right now, less than $6) will also receive Saints Row: The Third. As of the time of this writing, the Humble THQ Bundle has raised over $2.2 million dollars from over 400,000 purchases, with money split between THQ, charities and the Humble Organizers.

Source: HumbleBundle.com

Spike TV/Entertainment Weekly Announce Top 10 Best Games Of The Past Decade

Entertainment Weekly has teamed up with Spike TV to celebrate the videogames that defined the last 10 years in games to commemorate the 10th annual Spike Video Game Awards hosted by Samuel L. Jackson. Those games are, in the order in which they released, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, Half-Life 2, World of Warcraft, Shadow of the Colossus, Wii Sports, BioShock, Portal, Mass Effect 2, Red Dead Redemption and Batman: Arkham City.

“In the past 10 years, videogames moved decisively into the mainstream of popular culture. The societal impact of major franchises like Call of Duty, or Halo, or Grand Theft Auto arguably supersedes the effect of comparable movie franchises. If anything, Hollywood is more and more taking its cues from videogames,” writes Darren Franich. “At the same time, this was an era in which the whole medium of videogames splintered in several intriguing new directions. The Wii, Nintendo’s left-turn evolutionary device, helped to usher in a casual-gamer revolution. The steady growth of the smartphone market turned everyone into a gamer”¦ and, at the same time, ushered in the popular decline of the Great Big Epic Videogame. The advance of the downloadable market created a boomlet in eccentric indie videogames: This was the era of BraidLimbo, and Journey. That same advance may point the way towards a serialized form of gaming: This year’s episodic Walking Dead adaptation from Telltale Games, or the weekly release of “Spartan Ops” on Halo 4.”

“In attempting to put together a list of the 10 best games of the last decade, the EW brain trust looked at games that pushed the medium forward. Some popular choices fell by the wayside “” there are a lot of great games hovering at No. 11 on this list. In the end, we picked 10 games that represent an industry simultaneously hitting its peak while staring down a brave, scary, fascinating new era,” he continued. “The winner will be announced on December 7 during the VGA’s.”

Source: Popwatch.EW.com

Zynga Gets More Flexible Agreement With Facebook

According to an SEC filing, Zynga no longer has special terms with Facebook compared to other developers, but is free to put its games on other social networks. Zynga’s contribution to Facebook’s total revenue has waned over the past year, diminishing from 19 percent in early 2011 to 7 percent in October 2012.

“It’s good for Zynga, and neutral for Facebook,” said analyst Michael Pachter. “The down draft was because Zynga agreed to let Facebook develop games, which they have no intention of doing. No change in view on either, but more positive on Zynga.”

“Zynga’s mission is to connect the world through games,” said Barry Cottle, Zynga’s chief revenue officer. “In order to do this, Zynga is focused on building enduring relationships with consumers across all platforms from Facebook and Zynga.com on the web to tablets and mobile. Our amended agreement with Facebook continues our long and successful partnership while also allowing us the flexibility to ensure the universal availability of our products and services.”

While no announcements accompanied this, it’s likely that previously Facebook exclusive games will come to other platforms like Google+. Facebook is no longer required to meet any growth targets and could develop its own games; ultimately the fewer restrictions on both companies will probably be a net gain in long term.

Source: GamesIndustry International

Consumer Confidence Hits Four Year High

The Consumer Confidence Index calculated by the Conference Board rose to 73.7 in November, up slightly from 73.1 in October, the highest level since February 2008. This is a result of solid hiring and 20.3 percent of people surveyed said they expect more jobs in the next six months.

“Over the past few months, consumers have grown increasingly more upbeat about the current and expected state of the job market, and this turnaround in sentiment is helping to boost confidence,” said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board.

Still, a majority expect job growth and pay growth to remain sluggish and the threat of higher taxes looms over many in the middle class. “As yet, households are largely unaware of exactly what the ‘fiscal cliff’ means to their bottom line, or simply believe Congress will figure it out and do something before it takes effect,” said Ellen Zentner, senior U.S. economist with Nomura. “As widespread media coverage concentrates more on the fiscal cliff, so will U.S. households.”

Source: Money.CNN.com

Hideo Kojima Looks Beyond Metal Gear For Legacy

Hideo Kojima’s legacy is inexorably tied to the Metal Gear franchise, despite his involvement on a number of other game series over the years. While his work on Metal Gear includes important milestones for the industry, Kojima doesn’t want to to be known solely for the tactical espionage action game.

“I’ll admit that I hope my future endeavors are thought of as ‘works by Hideo Kojima’ rather than ‘from the creator of Metal Gear,” said Kojima. “I haven’t really shown the world what else I might be capable of yet. This may sound pretentious, but I don’t like being thought of as ‘the Metal Gear guy.’ There’s a lot more I can do.”

“I’ve always said that I want to work on original properties, but Metal Gear offers plenty of benefits. The Fox Engine, for example, took a lot of time and money [to create]; we were only able to develop it because it was intended for the next Metal Gear,” he added. “In the next game, I’m introducing concepts intended for entirely new intellectual properties using the Metal Gear brand.”

Source: EGM