Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Rule #6: it’s Good to Play Games with Your Customers

Going through this chapter the first quote that really stands out and represents the entire essence of the chapter is the quote at the very end by Mike Benson.

Paraphrased it states: “…you’ve also got to be aware of what the consumer will and will not accept. They know when they’re being sold”…”there’s an audience out there than can appreciate real creativity, and that will accept and buy an advertiser’s product if it’s done right. But if you don’t do it right, they’re going to write you off – fast.” Using this statement as a guide and going back through the rule we can come up with three types of branding that are common in games.

The first and strongest example that presents the least amount of risk to brand degradation but moderate brand recognition would be when a brand is inserted into a game previously unrelated to the brand. The game could stand alone and the branding within the game only makes the gamine experience more realistic and enriching. It borders more on advertising than total branding. Examples include billboards and signs within a game, or branded clothing which enhances the experience with realistic detail in this virtual world.

The second example that presents more risk but much higher brand recognition is when the game is produced by a company with a primary goal of branding. The game itself starts with a strong brand name and uses that name to promote and/or extenuate the experience around it. Two popular examples in the chapter are Burger King’s Xbox 360 game Big Bumpin and Dairy Queen’s DQ Tycoon. Both are successful but both risky in terms of cost vs. acceptance. Movies and television shows have utilized gaming to enhance the experience and promote an upcoming event, especially action and children movies. We believe that media has much more of a chance of success in this area. Do you agree or disagree with this assumption?

The third example is when example two does not turn out as planned. This happens when the branding itself becomes way too strong in a game that is not so good to begin with. They oversell and under perform. The end result is a commercial that went into overkill that eventually pushes everyone away and hurts the brand itself. When that negative connectivity is attached it could be very difficult for the company to release itself from the game image. Are there any games you can think of that have oversold and underperformed to the detriment of the company and the brand that developed it?


  1. I am not sure if it qualifies as a game. But the Reebok application/game to share running trails with other members is just a low performance example. The idea is good but the execution is poor and really unusable. It leaves the impession that Reebok is not quite up to the task and looses credibility. It is not perceived as a serious player in the market.


  2. "Are there any games you can think of that have oversold and underperformed to the detriment of the company and the brand that developed it?"

    7UP's Cool Spot video game

    I remember seeing this in the mid-nineties and thinking it was a joke....

  3. This goes right back to the Elf Yourself with Staples. Why would Elfing yourself make you think of office supplies??

  4. incorporating products into games is a great way to appeal to children(Verizon in Madden football). In games such as tiger woods golf, and NHL 2010, you can customize characters and outfit them with the latest callaway or nike equipment. Product placement in these games is directly aimed at the children playing the games.

    Producing a game with the goal of branding can be extremely difficult becaue games develop followings much like a viral video. Creating a successful game franchise may be too timely and costly for companies not in the industry. Product placemetn in gaming can guarantee that the product is tied to a successful game launch

  5. Probably the best example(s) of games that are oversold, but yet constantly underperform are those based on movies. The list is HUGE: Spiderman, Price of Persia, Avatar, Speed Racer, Matrix. When the games are released after the movie, the sales of the game are generally good if the movie is good. However, if the game isn't good, it can hurt the sequal or the potential for future games from the developer. Even worse, if a game is released prior to (or coincident) with the movie, it often hurts the movie itself.

    Obviously, if the movie is good enough, people will still go see it (and the sequal(s)). However, you put together an awesome serious of movies...and then perfectly tie in a game...you can create a monster of a dynasty. Case in Point: Star Wars and LucasArts.

  6. Re: traditional brands versus media brands - advantage in games ...

    Two main things: 1) know your audience (Rule 1) and 2) make it fun. A good game is a good game is a good game. If you create a game for your target audience that's fun to play, you'll be fine.

    My read of your choice Benson quote has it saying the exact same thing.

  7. This is a little bit of a different take on games- Magazines have always had "games" on their covers to entice people to open them up and read them. Quizzes like "Is your man into you?" "Are You Way Too Good For Him?" and "Best Celebrity Quiz" are just games for entertainment. I actually think this could be better utilized in shopping experiences, aka on shopping apps- What's your clothing style? Are you a deal finder or big spender? Find the clothing store that best fits you. Take this quiz! I would take these. Games that help you take action are the best.