Friday, April 25, 2008

Brand embassadors in virtual worlds

Yesterday Finnish online entertainment company Sulake arranged an event focusing on "harnessing youth to act as brand ambassadors". The evening was kicked off by Mr. Jonathan Epstein from in-game advertising firm Double Fusion. Mr. Epstein highlighted five issues that are important when targeting to youth in this entertainment rich, networked society:
1. Include, don’t intrude
2. Keep it personal
3. We are what we shop
4. Fuel the aspiration
5. Focus on ROO (return on objective)

A couple of successful cases were also presented where Sulake products IRC-Galleria and Habbo Hotel were used to reach the right target groups. My absolute favorite was Stabilo case (Lindell). Heli Vainio, brand manager from Lindell gave really inspiring and heartened talk about their experiences at the IRC-Galleria. They looked for new ways to market Stabilo highlighting pens for youngsters. They had their message, the product, manga-drawing competition and some ideas about utilizing the web. They brainstormed with IRC-Galleria guys and came up with an idea of focusing on their Manga drawing competition (banner) and offering "ihq-sälä" (virtual swag) to youth.

They got huge number of drawings to the competition and 30 000 individuals joined the Stabilo community to get virtual Stabilo-branded swag. Lindell increased Stabilo sales to a big bookstore chain by 50%.

MarketingExperiments blog has related post about virtual swag.

Microsoft has also learned to be brave and utilize virtual worlds when launching their new applications. Windows Server 2008, Visual Studio 2008 and SQL Server 2008 will be launched at the Second Life on Saturday, April 26, 2008 at 9:00 A.M. PDT. Microsoft promises to show the applications in action but they also understand the possibility to bring together product experts and techsavvy peers and to enable open discussion.

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