For some inexplicable reason, some marketers and their agencies still think it's OK to create a website, in this case, an advergame, that only works with Internet Explorer on a PC. Given the horrid user experience Internet Explorer provides with it's gaping holes through which scumware of all forms permeates to the proliferation of far superior browsers such as Firefox, let alone a cadre of Mac users, it's just plain shortsighted idiocy to create anything limited only to IE.
This time the idiocy comes courtesy of VISA and its agency Wild Tangent who created some kind of promotional advergame for the Torino 2006 Olympic Games. That's all we can tell you about the game because, yes, we gave up IE years ago and have avidly used Firefox ever since. And this time, we aren't even going to fire up our stale copy of IE so we can perform our journalistic duty and describe the game's merits or demerits to you. Suffice to say, based on the marketer's ignorance of a huge audience segment, it's safe to say all the effort is worthy of is a giant pile of demerits.
Promoting a the Australian men's magazine Explode, Soap Creative has launched a "customize your ride" game, called Bling My Bomb, in which visitors choose their vehicle and customize it selecting color, wheels, graphics, engine, plates, horn, your street scene and yes, the hottie that will ride with you. Sorry, ladies, this one's for the guys. Besides, you probably don't want to visit a site that treats women like hood ornaments. Oh please. After all, it's all just fun and fantasy for single-minded guys. That said, Explode will be happy to know we actually spent a significant amount of time on the site crafting our ride.
To help marketers and agencies understand and take advantage of gaming as a medium, has launched a series of Gaming 101 sessions. IGA hopes to educate the marketplace about the current and future videogaming landscape, the changing demographics of gamers, how the hardware platforms differ from each other, and how to run in-game advertising campaigns that get results.
Advertising agencies that have held or are scheduled to hold IGA Partners Gaming 101 sessions include Crispin Porter + Bogusky, Bartle Bogle Hegarty, SS+K, Manning Gottlieb OMD, Avenue A | Razorfish.
A typical IGA Gaming 101 session provides an overview of the gaming space and gaming ad formats such as advergaming, product placement/plot-integration, dynamic in-game advertising, and casual gaming. Along with any form of consultant comes buzzwords and IGA's "Metrification," a proprietary in-game advertising quantitative and qualitative measurement and analysis framework.
So this has been around for a while but it's always fun to engage a bit in Microsoft-bashing. In Helvetica vs. Arial, this game lets you stamp out Microsoft's very-similar-to-Helvetica Arial because like, ya know, Helvetica was here first and why should Microsoft get all the glory just for copying Helvetica, calling it a different name and making it the default typeface on everyone's computer?
Created by Swivel Media, Wells Fargo has launched a pilot multi-player, online role-playing game, called Stagecoach Island, designed to educate young adults about the importance of knowing your finances. Currently the game is being deployed in San Diego and Austin and will role out nationally later this year. We have a video preview here.
The game allows players to select a virtual character and participate in an "island adventure." Participants can choose to explore the virtual island -- lush parks, hip cafes, dance clubs, trendy shops, amusement parks, hair salons and more. They can also interact in dozens of virtual, social situations -- like skydiving, riding jets-skis, or playing games like paintball with other participants. Many activities on the island are "free," but participants gain access to other experiences, such as dancing in a club or purchasing new clothes, by spending, saving and earning virtual money. Players can earn money by visiting the Virtual Learning Lounge and answering trivia questions about banking basics such as budgeting, saving and managing money. The Learning Lounge content is derived from Wells Fargo's signature financial literacy program, Hands on Banking.
We think we've just stumbled upon one of the most enjoyable, most addictive and most entrancing online games in a very long time. Random Culture notes Saab UK has launched Race Against Time, an online "choose your own adventure" game, similar to the recently launched Choose Your Sauce KFC game, in which players take a Saab for a timed drive having to make multiple decisions upon the way. From deciding to stop for gas or not, ask directions or guess, give a stranger a ride or not, and more, the game sucks the player in and keeps the interest high. Very nice work created by Draft London which designed, shot, wrote and produced the site.
YesBut points out Bubblicious bubble gum has added a new feature to it website called Bubblicious Virtual Buddy. It allows you to pick a character, style them, call an 800 number, record a message which is then spoken by the created character. The entire creation can then be emailed to a friend. Similar to Wedding Crashers' Trailer Crashers promotion, this should make for some interesting inter-teen communication.
TAG Body spray is getting the promotional online game treatment with Hide the Hotties and House Call. Hide the Hotties provides four increasingly difficult game levels in which you have to hide the hotties hanging in your pad before their Dad shows up at the door and kicks the crap out of you. Apparently, if you type the T, A, and G keys, that unlocks a bikini version of the game. This didn't work for us. House Call, which really should have been called Booty Call, lets the gamer sneak through the house to hook up with the hottie of the house.
The first one is amusing. The second one just doesn't work that well. Of course, that could simply be because we suck at online gaming and have an ADD-style attention span.
Even before its release this September, self-appointed anti-gaffiti mouthpiece Queens Councilman Peter Vallone is trashing a new Atari video game, called "Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure," which features a young graffiti artist up against corrupt officials and rival gangs as he spreads his tag around the city. The game was developed by Marc Ecko, features the voice of Talib Kweli and tags from 50 graffiti artists including Cope2 who created the Time Magazine graffiti board.
In a letter to Atari Chairman Bruno Bonnell, Vallone, who is concerned that game and the graffiti tips it provides encourage vandalism, wrote, "You are personally encouraging children to deface neighborhoods, break the law and wind up behind bars. This is an appalling lack of responsibility on your part." Atari has not yet commented on Vallone's comment.
Uber-graffiti overlord Bucky Turco, founder of of Animal magazine, told the New York Daily News, "Marc Ecko and Atari are giving graffiti artists an outlet to do something legal. You'd think Vallone would applaud that as opposed to opposing it."
For all Vallone's complaining, all he's going to do is bring more attention to the game and boost sales - not exactly what he had in mind. Many times the very important communications strategy of just keeping one's mouth shut eludes so many. Of course, if Vallone kept his mouth shut, he'd be cannibalizing his primary strategy which is to build political awareness of himself.
Computer and video game conference and event planner, The Game Initiative, has announced the Advertising In Games West forum at 600 Toensend in San Francisco July 28, 2005. Advertising in Games Forums bring together advertisers, publishers and game makers to discuss the opportunities and challenges of ads in games.
Speakers include industry leaders from both the game industry and the advertising business, including: Microsoft, Ogilvy Interactive, Double Fusion, Wild tangent, Massive Incorporated, Nielsen Interactive Entertainment, United Talent Agency, Yankee Group, BlockDot, InGame partners, Skyworks Technologies, Arnell Group and others. Visit the conference website for more information.