Games and Brand Extension – Do They Click?

For this article I wanted to look into the way that traditional games and gaming elements have been used to enter the mainstream space from a business standpoint to either incentivise consumers or engage them on a different level.

Games are primarily an entertainment medium, but that hasn’t stopped companies from having games developed to reach a different demographic than perhaps represents their core market. An ad campaign may run for 2 weeks, 4 weeks or 2 months but branding within a game can have a much longer shelf life. The most common example of brand extension within the gaming arena focuses on movie tie-ins. Many Disney/Pixar films release a game based on the film around the same date. It helps consumers engage with the film on a deeper level and get to know the characters and brand better making it ultimately more likely that additional purchases of merchandise or DVDs are made. The main issue with game tie-ins however is often they are rushed to coincide with the film release and most end up being fairly average titles. The sheer fact that the majority are aimed at a very young audience means though that children tend not to worry too much about this and just enjoy controlling the characters.

Looking at something completely different from an engagement aspect. Papa John’s pizza in the UK released a mobile gaming app which had you deal with pizza orders and create pizzas as perfectly and speedily as possible. App was priced at 69p with the hook being if you reached a certain score then you could earn a free pizza. It was a well made game and was quite a fun stand alone game as well as being challenging in the later levels. The only disappointing part was upon reaching your free pizza it was for collection only which limited me somewhat but was still a good prize.

Weight Watchers UK campaign last year focused on treating weight loss like a game thanks to the point system that was in use. It was an interesting take on things but it wasn’t continued for the 2013 marketing campaign. Arguably, despite the fresh take on losing weight, it didn’t engage the largely female audience of its membership base as even now, females are still in the minority when it comes to enjoying games. It perhaps didn’t resonate as strongly as it should have.

When there is a natural gaming tie-in that fits organically such as in Wreck-It-Ralph you get the best of both worlds – a good film and a very relevant game. You even have in-game advertising which can be seen in many of the Need For Speed series of games. Rockstar also create such believable worlds with their Grand Theft Auto series that there are teams dedicated to creating fictional brands within this universe – they actually extend their own brands within the games and also into the real world. Rusty Brown Ring Donuts is one that always springs to mind.

I’d be interested to hear any other examples you may have experienced perhaps in countries other than the UK.

Educational Games for Kids: Enhance Your Kid’s Learning Experience

Let me start with a quote I used to come across in my everyday life, “Kids are always Kids, and should remain kids”. Very true, would you like to see a kid who is very serious about his life or would be rather happier looking at a kid who is joyfully playing with his toys and his video games. Research has proved that kids are at their perceiving best when they enjoy what they do.

Well, we have come across many parents who yell at their kids for not studying and just lazing around their time playing video games. But I would like to thank the developers who thought of an idea which helped in integrating video games to educate a kid. These are called educational games, and are designed specifically to teach a kid the in-depth concept of a certain subject. This is probably a revolution in the education sector in educating small kids. Moreover I feel, now even the parents are bothered to look for educational games for their dear little ones.

Educational games are known for stimulating the overall growth of a kid. It generally promotes the physical, social and emotional growth among the kids. Some of the benefits of educational games:

• It provides a medium that promotes an immediate and challenging visual feedback within a fun safe virtual environment.
• Research has proved that kids exposed to educational software games developed many skills like Logical Reasoning skills and decision making.
• Educational games also help the kids to interact with the other kids of their age to solve a particular puzzle or a problem.

There are different classes of educational games that help the kids to fine tune their skills. Let us have a sneak peek at what the parents go for to take off their kid’s trouble facing in Maths? Well it is an edutainment software called the Manga High. This is a math game for higher elementary and lower middle school students, created by the top brains at Oxford University.

If you are ever wondering it is very difficult for you to shop educational software game to your dear little ones, there exists a solution for everything. Thanks to the internet. Yes, the internet also offers a variety of online games to play with for the kids of all age groups. All these online educational games are designed in such a way that they’ll be enhancing the learning process continuously while the games are being played.

But it is the first and foremost responsibility of the parents or elders to try and find the right website for the kids. The site should be first analysed on how helpful it can be in enhancing the learning process of a kid and also needs to justify the ways it can make the kids enjoy a particular game. At present, there are a huge number of web portals offering educational games. And ‘m very sure that these educational game performance will have a place in your kid’s report card in the near future. Watch out!!!

Some of the Largest Brands Are Using Game Based Apps For Advertising and Promotions

Over 550 businesses and schools have used a scavenger game application available on iPhone and Android mobile devices to drive and enhance their advertising and promotions. The SCVNGR app development platform includes notable users such as the Boston Celtics, Boston Globe, New England Patriots, Journeys, The New York Times, Universal Music Canada, Warner Bros, as well as colleges and universities including Princeton. Using mobile games as a platform for ads and promotions is one of the latest trends in consumer engagement, especially the millennial generation that grew up on video gaming.
 
The essence of the SCVNGR platform is three interconnecting elements: Challenges, which are things to do at places; Treks, which connect places and challenges; and Rewards, that offer benefits for playing. Players earn points in a Challenge – checking-in is worth a point, telling your friends where you are is worth 2 points, and and providing content about a location such as a picture is also worth 2 points. The platform’s database is understood to include already over 20 millions locations.
 
Marketing opportunities abound, from directing a Trek to a specific location with advertising and promotion opportunities along the journey and at the destinations, through utilizing consumer experiences and user generated content that involves the brand at Challenges and Treks. Of course, the Rewards can easily be tied to photo opportunities and further promotions. Fun and games are thereby able to leverage off brand related content, locations & competition.
 
For instance, a Philadelphia Diamond retailer, Robbins Diamonds, fashioned an interactive city-wide treasure hunt to find a hidden diamond ring. Clues were delivered to competitors cellphone’s by SMS text messages, mobileweb or in-app notifications. Pre-event publicity and media coverage included media from traditional print through to digital blogs. As a result, there were almost 2,000 applications for the 250 available spots and 2.5 million impressions for the retailer in TV, print, radio & internet immediately before their busiest season. See the full case study at scvngr.com

Advertising and promotions are no longer one way streets – mobile apps like SCVNGR & others are paving the way for experiential marketing utilizing the mobility benefits of those media and mediums that are with us 24/7 – the mobile phone. As Robbins Diamonds was able to accomplish, you can use a mobile app to rise above the noise produced by your competitors and saturated ad markets. As well, by involving your customers in an experience they will remember and associate with your product, you are creating a positive top of mind recall event that will be hard to match through conventional ads or promotional opportunities.