Plenty of advertising is already embedded in electronic games. The new wrinkle is that gaming can be embedded in ads — perhaps the only hope of engaging some people's interest long enough to get a message across.
Coca-Cola China's TV ad for the Hong Kong market invited viewers to use their smartphones to "chok" bottle caps flying across their TV screens. A well-timed waggle of the phone would catch a cap on the phone's screen, earning points (to be redeemed later for sweepstakes entries). This mobile integration was complicated: For instance, people had to download a special app to play, and the timing of the ads had to be announced in advance so that players would be ready. But it all came together and worked. The app was downloaded 380,000 times in its first month, and exposure to the ad (on TV, YouTube, and Weibo combined) exceeded 9 million views. Some background:
Electronic games started out as all whizbang technology and no aesthetic appeal. (Pong, anyone?) Today's gamers demand not only stunning visuals but also narrative and emotional depth. As advancing technology makes such integration more seamless, many marketers will build on this start. Some of them may be surprised at how rapidly creative talent comes back to the fore.
This is the second in a series of posts from our March issue on the future of advertising. Stay tuned for more "Creative That Cracks the Code" over the coming weeks; topics include Variations on a Meme; Collaborating With the Crowd; Just Enough Humor; A New Social Movement; Ads That "Go Native"; Apps as the New Ads; Personalized Products; and Ads in the Public Sphere.
We also want to know which ads campaigns strike you as innovative; tell us below and we could analyze your pick as part of this series.
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