Posts Tagged ‘marketing strategy’


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In my last article, I set out to acquaint you with the concept of advergaming – the use of video games for advertising purposes. Here I explore the practicalities of having such a game, or branded app, developed. The ‘data’ for this article come from a series of interviews with specialized developers as well as professional experience in the field.

When you are in the business of pet products (or any non-digital goods industry for that matter), having a branded app or video game developed for the proliferation of your brand can seem like a daunting task. How do I materialize my vision into a functional product? How can I best allocate my financial resources? And, how will I yield the biggest return from my investments? Notwithstanding the medium’s sticky and viral nature, if you don’t have the right ingredients to work with, you are poised for costly failure. Although nobody really knows what ultimately drives the adoption of creative goods such as video games, there are certain guidelines that facilitate a smooth development process and which may increase your chances for success. In this article, I highlight four such guidelines. (meer…)

Successfully Using Games as Marketing Tool

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The Case of Chipotle’s Scarecrow

This is the second article in a series of three commissioned by the General Director of PETS International, the trade journal for the $100 billion international pet industry.  Here, I delve into the use of video games for advertising purposes, or ‘advergames.’ Advergames can be used with various levels of intensity to promote products, organizations, and viewpoints. Using the case of Chipotle’s Scarecrow, I outline the value, use, and some success metrics for games as a marketing tool.

Chipotle’s Scarecrow Campaign

In September 2013, restaurant chain Chipotle Mexican Grill set out to promote its new corporate initiative Food With Integrity. The FWI initiative was meant to draw attention to Chipotle’s emphasis on sourcing sustainably (i.e. local and organic) raised food. The low-cost restaurant chain known for its burrito’s and taco’s went against the grain for promoting its corporate ethos to the outside world. Instead of opting for a traditional marketing campaign, Chipotle contracted digital production agency Moonbot for the development of a mobile video game accompanied by an animated digital short film, both titled “The Scarecrow.”

Scarecrow's rank history following launch (graph from App Annie)

Scarecrow’s rank history following launch (graph from App Annie)

Chipotle’s Scarecrow was released on September 12, 2013 for Apple’s iOS platform (iPhone & iPad). After five days, the adventure game had already accumulated 300,000 downloads and earned its rank in Apple’s U.S. Game charts. At the same time, the animated short film enjoyed over 5 million views on YouTube, fuelled by coverage from the New York Times and numerous other publications applauding the campaign. Venturebeat labeled the Scarecrow campaign as “one of the most successful marketing campaigns in history.” Since then, the video game has continued to do well, and the video has ranked up nearly 14 million views on YouTube. (meer…)

From Tamagotchi to Nintendogs

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What can the global pet industry do with video games as a promotion vehicle? This is the question I got asked a few weeks ago by the General Director of PETS International, the trade journal for the $100 billion international pet industry. More specifically, I was commissioned to write three short articles on the potential linkages between video games and the business of pets and pet accessories. In the first article, that can be downloaded here, I outline the economic and cultural relevance of the video game industry and provide some examples of video games that speak to an audience of pet owners such as Tamagotchi, Nintendogs, and the multitude of virtual pet simulators on mobile app stores. In subsequent articles I will highlight some of the strategic marketing opportunities and challenges of advergames and in-game product placements as applied to the pet industry. Stay tuned!

ESA Video Interview

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This week I spent some time in Washington DC to give two invited talks to members, employees and lobbyists of the trade association for the US video game industry, the Entertainment Software Association. To fans of video games, the ESA is most well known for organizing the yearly E3 conference in Los Angeles. Their Vice President of Government Affairs, Erik Huey, also did a nice video interview with me on my work as a teacher and researcher. In the video I talk about platform economics for the console video game markets as well as the transition into digital distribution, both topics that are close to my heart and research. You can watch the interview above. For more information on the ESA check their website and Twitter accounts (@ESAGovAffairs; @RichatESA).