Monday, November 13, 2006

Interactive promotion report: games

[Tags: , , , ]. I recently asked my Interactive Promotion students to research a particular aspect of interactive promotion. I'll be publishing a different report each day, beginning with games, by Kylie Gammans:

Games (via email, phone or website)

Games via email phone and websites are a form of entertainment for users and can use a variety of different techniques to promote something. Games have a practical way of promoting something as they are bound to keep users amused, therefore consumers are more likely to take notice of the promotions that are taking place, rather than to get distracted by something else, such as things in the background of a website. A user of a game is constantly interacting so their attention is fixed hopefully making them more aware of the promotions that are taking place. Games can promote a range of different areas within the media including movies, television programmes, celebrities, companies and brands.

Games via email

Games via email are not as successful as games via websites and mobile phones. The reason for this is because when people get sent games via their email they may not have the correct software needed for a particular game on their computer so they can not gain access to the game.

Games via websites

Games promoting brands

Example 1 : www.nikefootball.com

On the official Nike website, viewers are able to play games that are linked with football and the famous stars who promote the brand Nike. For example the audiences can play a game called ‘kiss the ball’ where the viewer has to click the mouse to make the famous football star Ronalinho keep the ball up (there are different varieties to this game such as speed, touch and accuracy). Including a famous celebrity helps to promote the brand because if consumers see that particular celebrities who they aspire to take part in the website this will help to promote the brand in a positive way. On the website http://www.nma.co.uk/Articles/29559/Analyst+Speak+-+Players+not+put+off+by+in-gaming+advertising.html I found an article called ‘statistics on in game advertising and games on medium forms’ it mentions how ‘ Over two-fifths (44%) of gamers think that having real brands or companies in games adds to the experience.’ (Milsom: 2006: NMA Magazine online) This shows that if a user of a game has had a positive experience and are aware of the brand its promoting they will relate this experience to believe that the brand is constructive.

This game is an excellent example of a successful game that helps promote the brand; it is on Nike’s website which looks very professional and the viewer is bound to see information about the brand before playing the game. As well as this, because the target audience of this website will mainly consist of males who are interested in football it is important to have a game which will keep their attention fixed, so they don’t go off track, get bored and cancel out of the game.

When searching for games that promoted brands on the internet I came across an article called ‘Nike launches soccer game online’ on the website http://www.clickz.com/showPage.html?page=1006711 This stated that when Nike launched its “secret tournament” advertising campaign to ‘promote its new soccer gear in a four-month-long TV and online campaign’(Saunders: 2002: Online) they launched an online game in conjunction with this called “Scorpion Knock Out.” The advertising of this campaign aimed to try and convince people to visit nikefootball.com where they could ‘take on the role of coach, assembling teams of players, training the players to hone their skills and practice special moves, and ultimately, competing in matches against the teams of other site visitors.’ (ibid)This game allowed people to win prizes if they were successful at being a professional football coach. Having a chance to win something would persuade people even more to visit the website; this game was very successful as it ‘anticipated to be one of the largest advergaming efforts to date’. (ibid) This illustrates that if an advertising campaign of a brand allows potential buyers to interact with the brand through a form of entertainment, the campaign would prove to be successful.

‘think of a promotional game as a big game and the winner is the company that makes consumers think about their products most often.’ (Whitman: 2001: Online)

I found the quote above on the website http://www.rpg.net/news+reviews/columns/ken12oct01.html the report was called ‘Top of-the-mind-Awareness’ A sales and marketing professional mentions in this report what makes a good promotional campaign. He states that if a particular company does not have a lot of money to promote their campaign ‘they have to do it the grass roots way: word of mouth, demos, giving away samples to excited consumers, and so on. However, when you start making cash, you'd better take this campaign to the next level! Why? Because your competitor will!’ (ibid) When trying to produce a promotional campaign you always have to think about the main problem of the campaign: the competition, you will always have to try and stay a step above them.

Example 2 : www.cadbury.com

There is a game on this website called ‘The Perfect Pairing’ and you have a choice to play it in flash mode or not. In flash mode it enhances the viewer’s experience of the game as it is more interactive. To play this game the user has to uncover the images to pair them all up together. The bad aspect of this game is that the images that you have to match up do not relate to the brand Cadbury. As a result of this the user of the game may forget about the brand the game is trying to promote. However in the background of the window of which the game is in there are pictures of Cadbury chocolate and Cadbury text so it is partly reminding the viewer of the brand. If I was to design this game I would make the images you pair up relate to Cadbury, such as matching up pairs of Cadbury chocolate bars to keep the user of the game aware of the brand at all times.

Example 3: www.pepsi.co.uk

On this website there is a variety of games you can play, including football and barrel shooting. These games do not relate to the brand Pepsi yet they do have the text of the brand around the edge of the games for promotional values. These games are similar to the Cadbury game for the reason that if I was to design the games myself I would relate the games more to the brand, for example Pepsi shooting instead of basic barrel shooting to make the promotional side of the game more achievable.

Games promoting television

Example 1: www.bbc.co.uk/drama/robinhood/games/

This game is promoting the new Robin Hood drama which is broadcast on BBC 1. The game is called ‘The Outlaws’ Revenge’ which is a six part adventure. A new game appears on the website after each episode is broadcast so this creates a narrative enigma, making fans of the drama want to go online each week to see what the game is. Before you take part in playing a game information about what you have to do is shown, and as characters who are in the drama are involved in the game this allows the audience to learn more about Robin Hood and the other characters. This makes the games more appealing to play as it reinforces the characters endorsement and you feel as if you are taking part in adventures that characters would play in the drama; improving users experience.

Example 2: www.bbc.co.uk/eastenders/coolstuff/fun_games/games/fun_games_puzzle.shtml

This website allows you to play a variety of different games on the television soap Eastenders. The target audience of these games would be people who have an interest in soaps which tends to mainly be women. When taking part in some of the games the viewer has to answer questions about the show and if they get it right they go further on in the game. If you get an answer wrong you are informed with the correct answer. Using this system allows the games to communicate key information about the show and characters to the audience allowing them to boost up their knowledge on the soap. This game will also appeal to people who are perhaps browsing on the BBC website and happen to come across these games. I think this game is an effective example of a promotional game as it relates to the soap as it involves characters etc making it more worth while compared to a game that would just have pictures of what it is trying to promote such as the Pepsi website; this also would make a consumer feel like they are interacting more with what is intending to be promoted.

Example 3: http://www.nick.com/games/index.jhtml

This website is promoting the children’s television show called Nickelodeon. There are number of different games you can choose to play and they are all on the programmes that are broadcast on this channel. The target audience for this website will be young children who watch this television channel. These games allow audiences to pick particular characters to be involved with the game, making them feel like they are interacting with the cartoon. So as well as entertaining the children, the games also promote the cartoons. For example if a child does not normally watch a particular programme, yet on the website they play a particular game and they have an enjoyable experience; they will be persuaded to watch the cartoon on television. As well as this there is an option for players to email friends about a particular game so this will increase popularity of a game and a cartoon.

I found a report on the website http://www.nmk.co.uk/article/2006/10/10/miniclip-cartoon-channel called ‘Gaming site launches cartoon channel online’ which mentions how one of the largest gaming sites online called http://www.miniclip.com/games/en/ has launched a cartoon channel, this channel launched on September 27th 2006 and features many ‘classic shows such as Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Sylvester and Tweety Bird.’(2006: NMK Online) The games online as well as the cartoons are free; customers will therefore most probably leave with a positive experience of this website, hopefully meaning they will visit again. I think this is a very successful way of promoting television because as well as customers being able to use free games online they are also able to watch cartoons. The result of this means the website promotes television mainly to younger children as cartoons are available to watch.

Games promoting movies

Example 1: http://harrypotter.warnerbros.com/

The target audience of this film would clarify of people from all ages ranging from children to adults who are fans of the books and films of Harry Potter. This website is the official website for Harry Potter films and has a wide selection of games that you can choose to play. All of the games are related to different scenes and adventures that take place in the films. You either have to choose to be a character in the film or you yourself have to play against the evil characters in the film; this allows viewers to add to their experiences of the encounters that take place in the film. On every game there is a high score board, this will influence users of the game to play it even more so that they can try and beat people and have their name shown on the board. I think this website promotes the film in a successful way as consumers of the game are able to enhance their knowledge on the film as they can play games that reflect actions that take place in the films.

Example 2: http://www.grudge-two.com/game/grudge2_game.php?uid=amlist

This game allows users to travel around a house entering rooms and when they see an object they have to click on them and place them into a folder; there is a message that implies that when you collect all these items you have to ‘expect the unexpected’ this makes viewers want to carry on to play the game as they might gain knowledge about the film that nobody else yet knows. This is a game that promotes the film as it is not yet out at the cinema so it is trying to inform people that if they have a frightening experience with the game the film is sure to entertain them at the cinema. Underneath this game there is also a link to the official website of the film which offers trailers of the new up and coming film so this promotes the film even more.

Example 3: http://zone.msn.com/en/spiderman2/default.htm

On this website there is a Spiderman game which allows children to advance through levels by helping Spiderman to spell words. This game is an effective example of a good educational game as most children do not like to do work if it bores them but having a game online which has a super hero will allow children to learn in an exciting and entertaining way ‘ these games will hold your child's attention so that they can get the knowledge they need .’(Hall: Online) At the same time of educating children this game promotes the film and other products on Spiderman. Children are known to nag parents for something so if they see Spiderman as a favourite character of theirs; even though this game is educational children will want to play this game because if Spiderman likes spelling so will the children as they look up to super hero’s, as well as this the more they play the game the more they are gaining education skills.

Games promoting celebrities

Example 1: http://zone.msn.com/en/outsmart/gallery.htm

This website allows audiences to play against particular celebrities when taking part in quizzes. Underneath the title of the game ‘Outsmart’ there is a slogan which states ‘Beat ‘em at their own fame.’ The questions of these quizzes can either be multiple choice or about the celebrities you are playing against. There is a score board showing your scores against the celebrities; this would make the audience feel like they are interacting with a celebrity on a more personal level, which would boost up their popularity amongst people who play this game.

Example 2: http://www.girlsaloud.com/site.php

All of the games on this website have titles and actions relating to the titles of Girls Aloud songs. On some of the games you can pick which band member you would prefer to be to play the game. Similar to the games on the Harry Potter website there is a high score board which will make a viewer feel important and like one of the biggest Girls Aloud fans, these games emphasize the group seeing that when you play the games particular information tells the audience about different singles and albums that are available. Some of the games are very convincing to play as they mention that if you are one of the best players of a game you will be entered into a competition to win a prize relating to the group.

Example 3: http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/funny_old_game/games/default.stm

The official BBC website allows audiences to play games on all kinds of sporting activities. Many of these games allow the audiences to be a famous sports star; this will make them more admired in the public eye reinforcing their celebrity endorsement. The games associate sport with a positive experience as they tell you information on sport when you go through certain stages in the game allowing the audience to gain knowledge, therefore as well as making the games entertaining they are also educational.

Example 4: http://www.thefa.com/WorldCup2006?/DownloadsGames?/Postings/2006/03/GamesRoom?.htm

This website promotes football and allows you to play football quizzes allowing you to access information on certain football players on the England team, making celebrities better known. At the same time of entertaining the audiences there are educational games for children on subjects such as science, History and Geography. Relating to the Spiderman website this is a successful way of educating children as it keeps their focus on the game and at the same time it promotes celebrities making them more popular.

Games via mobile phones

Games on mobile phones are very worth while as ‘you can use a mobile phone to play a game while travelling on a bus to work…you have your mobile phone with you all the time, and you can use it to fill the downtime between your other activities.’ (Michael and Salter: 2006: pg5) Most people in today’s society have mobile phones and would feel lost without them. The main reason for mobile phones is to communicate with people but now so many phones contain the internet on them many people are using their phones for a form of entertainment; such as downloading games off the internet. Mobile phone operators some times include a certain amount of free downloads to persuade people to sign up with their phone company as gaming on phones is becoming more popular; therefore the operators will compete against each other to try and get more customers signed up with them. However after these certain amount of downloads are used up you have to pay.

One bad thing about mobile gaming is that you have to pay for downloads whether you are purchasing them online or from your mobile, yet downloading games onto your phone is much cheaper than buying a game console. However as most people carry their phone with them everywhere if you have games on your phone they are always available for you to play when ever you want.

On many websites you cannot see what a game includes before downloading it onto your phone however on this website http://ringtones.mobilefun.co.uk/mobile-games.php?ref=GS-J-GE-01&gclid=CJeWp5Gl?-YcCFSa6Qgod6XUTGg? you can preview a game before purchasing it so you are aware of what the game includes, yet you still have to pay £6.00 to download it onto your phone. However I think that being able to preview a game first before downloading it is successful as you can see what you are buying making sure it will be good quality.

When researching on the internet I came across a report which mentioned that IGA world wide and exit games (the worldwide’s in games advertising platform) would ‘enable advertisers to reach their consumers via mobile phones.’(2006: Games Press Online) It mentions that there is a lot of potential in game advertising especially for providers of mobile phones as there will be an increase in the high and professional quality available. I believe there is a lot of potential as almost every one in today’s society has a mobile phone and because many people use their phones for a form of entertainment I believe that advertising through games on phones will be successful.

Advantages of games

  • Games can provide ‘entertainment…playing online games or downloading games.’ (Michael and Salter: 2006: pg30) If this leaves users with a happy experience they are bound to use this facility again.
  • Audiences look up to and respect celebrities, therefore games will appeal to people if a celebrity is used to promote or take part in a game. They will also reinforce celebrities, making them more familiar to the general public.
  • Some games on the internet will allow users to email a friend about their experience which will enhance popularity of a game, this will also happen through word of mouth.
  • Games can enhance a users experience towards a particular medium. For example on the website www.weddingcrashersmovie.com it allows viewers to play a game which mirrors actions that take place in the movie.
  • If a game that is promoting a brand satisfies the user they will associate the brand with a positive experience.
  • Some games on the internet allow users to take part in quizzes that communicate key information about a certain something such as a brand or a company. Using this as a form of promotion is useful as it allows the audiences taking part to feel like they have achieved more knowledge, allowing them to relate more to the specific medium the quiz is promoting.

Disadvantages of games

· Games both online and from downloading onto your phone can have a costing fee, leaving some customers feeling upset as they had to pay for a form of entertainment. This means that the audiences are more likely to search around to find games that you can get for free as this will leave them better off through saving money. For example on the website http://www.myphonegames.co.uk/02-mobile-phone-games/ it allows people to download games with a minimum charge of £4.50 which is expensive for one game. There are not even any offers on this website such as buy one download get another free; therefore I get the feeling that this website is purely trying to make money out of people.

· The quality of some mobile phones is not of a high standard so this may put people off of downloading a game onto their phone as they may think that the game would not be as good quality as it should be.

· When a game is sent to its audience through an email some people may not be able to play it as they might not have the software required

· Most games online are easy to access, the same as most areas on the internet are. This means that young children are able to enter games that include violent actions in them. Such as on the website http://rockstargames.com/classics/ you have to fill out your details such as your email address to receive the grand theft auto video game online. This game contains violent behaviour as you have to pretend to be a criminal.

Conclusion

After researching on games via email phone and website I have come to a conclusion of what makes a good promotional game. There are many aspects you have to consider when designing and putting together a promotional game. You have to think about what it is you are trying to promote: whether it be a celebrity or a brand. I feel that the most important aspect is to actually involve what the game is trying to promote in the game itself. This will then allow consumers of the game to interact with what is actually being promoted, and if the user has a pleasant experience with the game this will promote that something in a more positive light.

One important aspect that viewers are fond of when playing a game is that it is challenging, this way competition can ‘be a powerful motivator. The Challenge motivated gamer is drawn to a game that tests their skills, preferably one that tests them to their limits.’ (Hall: Online)This results that a game has to keep the audience attention fixed so they are not bored, therefore games have to entertain throughout.

Bibliography

Books

· Michael, A and Salter, B (2006) ‘Mobile Marketing: Achieving competitive Advantage through Wireless Technology’

Online Sources

· http://www.nma.co.uk/Articles/29559/Analyst+Speak+-+Players+not+put+off+by+in-gaming+advertising.html Milsom, P (2006) ‘Statistics On In Game Advertising And Games On Medium Forms’ (accessed 14.10.06)

· http://www.clickz.com/showPage.html?page=1006711 Saunders, C (2006) ‘ Nike Launches Soccer Game Online’ (accessed 15.10.06)

· http://www.rpg.net/news+reviews/columns/ken12oct01.html Whitman, K (2001) ‘Top-of-the-Mind Awareness’ (accessed 15.10.06)

· http://www.gamesindustry.biz/content_page.php?aid=15527 (2006) ‘Press Release: In-Game Advertising goes mobile’ (accessed 18.10.06)

· http://www.nmk.co.uk/article/2006/10/10/miniclip-cartoon-channel (2006) ‘Gaming site launches cartoon channel online’ (accessed 18.10.06)

Other websites I have referred to

www.bbc.co.uk/drama/robinhood/games/ (accessed 14.10.06)

www.bbc.co.uk/eastenders/coolstuff/fun_games/games/fun_games_puzzle.shtml (accessed 14.10.06)

www.cadbury.com (accessed 10.10.06)

http://www.girlsaloud.com/site.php (accessed 14.10.06)

http://www.grudge-two.com/game/grudge2_game.php?uid=amlist (accessed 10.10.06)

http://harrypotter.warnerbros.com/ (accessed 08.10.06)

http://www.miniclip.com/games/en/ (accessed 18.10.06)

http://www.myphonegames.co.uk/02-mobile-phone-games/ (accessed 04.10.06)

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/funny_old_game/games/default.stm (accessed 08.10.06)

http://www.nick.com/games/index.jhtml (accessed 08.10.06)

www.nikefootball.com (accessed 15.10.06)

www.pepsi.co.uk (accessed 10.10.06)

http://ringtones.mobilefun.co.uk/mobile-games.php?ref=GS-J-GE-01&gclid=CJeWp5Gl?-YcCFSa6Qgod6XUTGg? (accessed 04.10.06)

http://rockstargames.com/classics/ (accessed 08.10.06)

http://www.thefa.com/WorldCup2006?/DownloadsGames?/Postings/2006/03/GamesRoom?.htm (accessed 14.10.06)

www.weddingcrashersmovie.com (accessed 08.10.06)

http://zone.msn.com/en/outsmart/gallery.htm (accessed 19.10.06)

http://zone.msn.com/en/spiderman2/default.htm (accessed 19.10.06)

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