TV Ads Get Twitter-Powered Targeting

Twitter has introduced a service designed to help TV advertisers target those who they know have seen their ads. The service tracks Twitter users who have tweeted their TV-watching plans and shares that information with advertisers. Advertisers can then in-turn target that audience for further messaging through Twitter.

The new service uses technology from BlueFin Labs, a TV analytics service that Twitter acquired earlier this year. Twitter began beta testing it in May, and it worked with Nielsen to gather data on its effectiveness. Among their findings, the combination of TV ads and targeted tweets delivered 95 percent stronger message association and 58 percent higher purchase intent than TV spots alone.

Twitter released a video showing how the service works.  In addition to the new targeting service, Twitter is also giving advertisers a better analytics dashboard that shows what users are saying about their campaigns.


‘Gran Turismo 6’ Demo Is A Tournament

Sony’s Gran Turismo series is one of the premier driving simulators on consoles with a rabid fan base. Sony and the series’ developer Polyphony Digital are gearing up that fan base for Gran Turismo 6, and they’ve opened up a nifty way to demo the upcoming title with GT Academy 2013 It’s not just a demo, it’s a full on tournament designed to get players’ competitive juices flowing.

Once people download the demo from PlayStation Network, they can start entering race times to see how they rack up against other players, and ultimately whether they make the cut for the world’s top players when it ends.  To help players with racing strategy, Sony has enlisted a most fitting participant. Spanish race car driver Lucas Ordonez is giving racing tips and how-tos for players who want to lower their race times. Ordonez became a professional racer after winning Sony’s first GT Academy in 2008.

The tournament opened up on July 2, and qualifying runs are continuing until this Sunday. Players’ submitted race times count toward becoming a part of the full tournament, which runs until August 31.  Finalists will travel to the Silverstone Circuit in the UK and train to race against other finalists with real racing cars. The tournament winner will get to pursue their dream of becoming a real race car driver, and perhaps follow Ordonez’s footsteps in becoming a successful one.

Source: Gran Turismo Website

Hyundai Revs Up ‘The Walking Dead’

Hyundai apparently knows the current marketing power of a good snarling, decomposing and gore-encrusted walker. The car company teamed with The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman to create a zombie-proof car in honor of the 100th issue of the Image comic book.

The campaign follows last year’s “Hyundai Undead” marketing initiatives for the 2013 Elantra Coupe. The new effort introduces “The Walking Dead Chop Shop,” an iOS and soon-to-be Android app that lets fans design their own survival machines.

“I don’t know a lot about cars, but I do know a lot about zombie apocalypse and what I would like to have to survive,” Kirkman says in a promotional video for the app. “And so I think I’ll be able to come up with something that looks cool but may not be very practical or effective because I’m not good with physics and stuff like that. But it seemed like a fun challenge.”

The first collaboration was for a specially designed “zombie survival” version of the car that comes with its own manual, currently priced between $275 and $3999 on eBay. This time, fans can get a little more personal by picking out a Hyundai Elantra, Veloster Turbo or Santa Fe and then pimping it out with whatever might increase their life survival rate during a zombie apocalypse.

The chop shop app, which comes just in time for The Walking Dead comic book series, has custom-designed add-ons including razor wire, flamethrowers and about three hundred more authentic elements of The Walking Dead universe. Fans can then see if their designs would make the cut by submitting them to be judged by Kirkman himself.

The sweepstakes ends July 31 and the grand prize winner gets a 2013 Hyundai Elantra GT. Take a look at what else Kirkman had to say about it:

The car maker also hosted The Walking Dead 10th Anniversary party Friday night at San Diego Comic Con, celebrating a decade since the first issue of Kirkman’s comic opus hit retail shelves.

Source: The Walking Dead Chop Shop

Magicka’s Back In MOBA Form

Magicka was an adventure game that took Steam by storm upon its release. Players teamed up to kill monsters (and occasionally each other) and always kept a light sense of humor. Now the world of Magicka’s back, and this time it’s a MOBA called Magicka Wizard Wars. Players can sign up for the alpha right now at the game’s website.

PlayStation 4 Interface Details Surface

Sony has released a series of new images showing details of the PlayStation 4 user interface. While there has already been video of the interface from Sony, the new images provide a closer look at both the PS4 system interface and a companion app for smartphones and tablets.

On the mobile app interface, there is a ‘live detail view’ that shows the ability for users to launch games from the app and access content such as user game play videos and trophies. They can also see friends’ progress in a given game. Similar features are also showcased in pictures of the PS4 console interface.

Smartphone live detail and profile screens

The tablet interface shows a complete overview of your gaming status, including progress, trophies, and friends. The screen from the PS4 itself shows a strong social media presence. Friends and their statuses are clearly noted, while images of other games (and ads from the PlayStation Store) are also visible.

Tablet interface

PS4 interface

Source: Polygon

Setting Up Another ‘PayDay’

Two years ago PayDay: The Heist surprised gamers as a fun, aggressively-priced shooter.  It was a digital game published by Sony Online and available through Steam and PlayStation Network.  PayDay scored well with critics and did well enough with fans to warrant a sequel, which its developer Overkill Software announced even as they were still releasing content for the first game.

PayDay made an impression on more than just gamers.  Shortly after its release, Sweden-based Overkill was the target of a takeover by compatriot game maker Starbreeze, best known for its own shooters Syndicate and The Darkness.  Starbreeze made it clear they were interested in PayDay.  Just before the acquisition, Starbreeze CEO Mikael Nermark said that his company’s intention was to let Overkill continue building the IP.  He also stressed that the acquisition was intended to bolster Starbreeze’s own portfolio, where now PayDay: The Heist and the upcoming sequel, PayDay 2, both sit prominently on the company’s web site.

For PayDay 2, Starbreeze and Overkill enlisted 505 Games as publisher.  The most telling change with 505 replacing Sony Online is that the game is headed to Xbox.  505 is also treating the launch of the sequel more like a traditional console game. The game will have boxed versions for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, selling for $10 more than the Steam version but still priced aggressively at $39.99, and including a $60 collector’s edition. Much like the way a publisher would position a console game IP, 505 billed the sequel as a story-driven experience, and used the game story as fodder for its marketing campaign.

That paved the way for a novel effort, where the publisher worked with Overkill to enlist Hollywood helmer Damien Lichtenstein to create a live action web series expanding on the game story.  Lichtenstein, best known for directing the 2001 comedy 3000 Miles to Graceland, is also developing a feature film based on the IP.

“We felt that the storyline and characters were so strong, there was an ability to take it beyond the life of the video game,” 505 Games president Ian Howe told us in an interview.  “[The story] also carries something of a topical message as well. The whole back story is about guys who come back from serving for their country and have had their homes repossessed, and have had their livelihoods taken away from them.  And they’re kind of striking back at corporate America, which is something that’s quite topical.  I think it will provoke a conversation.”

In our exclusive interview, Howe shares insight on the web series, and also how 505 relied on the first PayDay title’s fan community and social media outreach to build buzz for the sequel.

Chipotle Admits Twitter ‘Hack’ Was ‘Adventurrito’

Chipotle has admitted that the brand was behind the series of what seemed like strange tweets from a hacking last weekend, fessing up to Mashable.

On Sunday, their account @ChipotleTweets began posting odd messages such as “Find avocado store in Arvada, Colorado” and, “Hi sweetie, can you please pick up some lime, salt, and onions twitter.” Shortly after, a “Joe” from the company’s social management team posted a message that seemed to confirm a hack.

“Sorry all. We had a little problem with our account. But everything is back on track now!” the company posted.

Brand accounts getting hacked on Twitter seem to be frequent these days, and now apparently so are fake hacks orchestrated for publicity. Earlier this year, Burger King and Jeep both experienced real hackers taking over their Twitter accounts. Shortly afterwards, Viacom-owned networks MTV and BET pretended to be victims of hacks.

According to Chipotle’s admission, their “hacked” tweets were actually part of the restaurant chain’s “Adventurrito” promotion, a series of 20 puzzles in 20 days celebrating its 20th anniversary. The fake hacking puzzle was of course about the ingredients that go into guacamole.

“We thought that people would pay attention, that it would cut through people’s attention and make them talk, and it did that,” company spokesperson Chris Arnold told Mashable.

That, it did. According to Arnold, Chipotle’s Twitter account added more than 4,000 followers the day of the “hack,” compared to its normal rate of adding about 250 followers a day. And the tweets in question – which have not been deleted by the way – were retweeted about 12,000 times. By comparison, Chipotle’s Twitter account usually sees about 75 retweets per day.

Some social media and PR pundits are already mourning the loss of reliability that a brand can suffer by lying to its fans. What do you think of the marketing strategy?

Source: Ad Week

Wham Bam Slam The Man!

The Mythological Heroes Co-Op Weapons DLC for God of War: Ascension Multiplayer is now available. No one at Sony Santa Monica is quite sure how to describe the fast-paced gameplay. This video shows staffers making wilder and wilder suggestions, until Sony asks for your help in coming up with the right description. Check out the video, and see what kind of description you can come up with!

Chrome Simplifies Streaming

Google’s new Chromecast is a small device, barely larger than a flash drive, that lets you stream online content to a TV straight from an iOS or Android phone or tablet, or from any laptop using Google Chrome. The dongle is plugged into the HDMI port of any TV and is then auto-discovered by apps like YouTube. In order to watch a video, users send it from their mobile device with a simple command. You can also adjust volume or set up a collaborative playlist from multiple devices.

The dongle runs videos from the cloud, not from the device, so users can run another app on their device while the video plays. Right now, the device can be used with a number of video apps, including YouTube, Google Play, and Netflix. It also supports music apps as well, in the form of Google Play Music and Pandora. The Chromecast costs $35 and comes with three free months of Netflix (even for current Netflix subscribers) and is available now.

Source: GigaOm

Google Mimics Apple Game Center

At a press conference yesterday, Google introduced a new social gaming app that is essentially its answer for Android-powered devices to Apple’s Game Center for iOS. The Google Play Games app provides a central place where gamers can see all of the games they play, compare achievements, and get and send invites to build up their gaming friend groups.

Google is basing the app around the Play Games services the company introduced at its IO conference earlier this year. According to the company, hundreds of games have already added those services, reaching millions of players. The Google Play Games app can be downloaded through Google Play store. It’s also coming pre-installed on Google’s upcoming Nexus 7 tablet.

Source: The Verge