GameStop has watched other retailers try to succeed in the used games business, only to eventually exit that market. The video game retailer is launching a television and online ad campaign targeting the broader audience of gamers to promote its pre-owned games business, which already generates $1 billion annually.
Designed by The Richards Group, the “Goat” commercial depicts a goat owner swapping the animal for a new, improved goat at a store. The commercial will air across Adult Swim, Comedy Central, ESPNU, FXX, MTV, Spike, TBS, and Toon throughout the month of May. Media will include direct-response TV, online pre-roll, and paid social placements on Facebook.
Frank Hamlin, chief marketing officer at GameStop, explains why the retailer is turning to the airwaves to promote its used games business in this exclusive interview.
Why did you decide to use a commercial to promote used games today?
Television and online media effectively and efficiently reach our broad and core gamer targets. It allows us to use sight, sound and motion to tell our story and communicate our message. Through GameStop’s PowerUp Rewards loyalty program, we are dyed-in-the-wool, one-to-one marketers. By that, I mean we focus our marketing spend predominantly in areas that drive loyalty from our existing customer base. In businesses predominantly driven through database and digital means, the occasional top-of-the-funnel message can be a rising tide that lifts all boats. We confirmed this hypothesis in a structured geographic test last summer in which we ran various “diets” of continuity media in structured test markets and measured key performance indicators. We are thrilled to roll out this campaign nationally (in May).
PowerUp Rewards members know all about used games. Who are you targeting with these commercials?
Using the broader medium of TV, we’re targeting the broad gaming audience and anyone who needs to be made aware or reminded not only that GameStop will give them cash or credit for their pre-owned video games, but also will provide them with a human, no-nonsense, often humor-filled and sometimes irreverent retail experience. Our associates are gamers just like our customers. Our stores are the physical, visceral place where gamers can commune, connect and kibbutz. These benefits are the subtext of this campaign. We’re a fun retailer and we offer a fun experience. The “Goat” spots aims to reach the broader, more casual gaming audience. We will also have another spot in the campaign, “Journey,” that will focus more on the Core Gamer, predominantly males ages 18 to 34.
How do goats connect with this audience?
We’re using an arresting comedic device to create juxtaposition and irony, and to communicate the fact that trading games is as simple as swapping goats.
How does the new $25 promotion work?
Our guests can bring in qualified video games to get $25 off of their next purchase. The up-to-date list of qualifying games will be available at tradeatgamestop.com.
How are you marketing this promotion and these spots on television?
The initial phase of the campaign will be running on national cable and nationally syndicated programs throughout the month of May. We have two creative treatments. The “Goat” spot will be running in programming with broader reach, targeting the casual gamer and households that have gaming participants. The second spot, “Journey,” will be running in programming that correlates highly with the core gamer in :60 lengths.
How are you connecting with gamers beyond TV?
The campaign will simultaneously be running digitally with online pre-roll placement, paid Facebook placements and static digital banner. We have print placements in Game Informer magazine. And the creative will be airing on our GameStop TV network in all of our 4,000+ domestic stores, along with a comprehensive sign package. Of course, the message will be amplified on GameStop.com, and in all of our CRM and social channels.
How long will this promotion and the spots run?
The initial phase will launch and run throughout the month of May.
Is this the beginning of a new marketing campaign aimed at the used games business?
It’s an extension of the “My GameStop” campaign we launched last year with our title support advertisements for releases like Halo V, Call of Duty and Star Wars Battlefront, as well as our holiday promotional campaign. The campaign establishes GameStop as the third place for gamers, focusing on the passion our store associates and guests have for gaming, and our standing value proposition with the mnemonic: Play. Trade. Save. Repeat.
What role do you see virtual reality and new consoles, including the March 2017 Nintendo NX, playing in the used games business moving forward?
We’re thrilled about the launches of these new technologies. The rate of change in this industry is moving at a fever pitch, and we’re proud to be the lone, national specialist that can help consumers make sense of these emerging technologies. Our trade proposition can always provide our customers with a currency toward their next exciting new purchase. And, our pre-owned games, consoles and accessories, continue to provide the best value in gaming.
Has the games industry, especially developers and publishers. gotten over the “used games are bad” way of thinking at this point?
Yes, we believe they have. Last year alone, our trade program put $1 billion of currency back into the pockets of our customers. That’s $1 billion that’s plowed back into our developer and publishing partners’ hottest new releases. We’re excited about where this can continue to head. As you will soon hear in our “Journey” spot, our trade program allows our customers to make the end of one adventure the beginning of another.