Monday, September 28, 2009

Intel-powered ‘Blogathon’ 2009

In July 2009, Intel launched a new range of ultra-low-voltage processors that enable PC brands to build ultra-thin notebooks offering long battery life and sophisticated processing capabilities in an easily portable form.

Objective: Intel wanted to demonstrate these lifestyle benefits more than ever…

Strategy: Intel tapped Singapore’s most influential tech and fashion bloggers to generate a profile for a visually uninspiring, but technologically exciting, product. Top 10 famous tech bloggers from Singapore were prepared to embark on a live 24-hour, non-stop, Intel-powered ‘Blogathon’.

1) Create maximum visibility for the slimline notebooks fitted with Intel’s range of ultra-low-voltage processors;
2) Bring the chip to life for consumers by making it relevant to their lifestyles;
3) Educate consumers on the performance of the Intel Core 2 Solo chip.

Execution plan (17 July - 18 July)

Hardware provider (Laptops): Lenovo

Sponsor (design and appearence): Singaporean fashion brand TANGS

Selection process of bloggers: An intensive audit was conducted to identify relevant, influential bloggers to participate in the event. An equal percentage of both ‘tech geeks’ and ‘fashionistas’ were engaged with a view to expanding brand equity between both groups.

Media channels & platforms A reality-TV-style video was aired on YouTube four days before the launch. It also served as material for the participants to include in their blogs. The video revealed the bloggers’ initial thoughts about the challenge alongside a sneak preview of their makeover experience at TANGS.

Microsite: A Flash-based microsite with blog aggregator was created to inspire the bloggers to create content over the 24-hour period.

Analytics: A tracking system was integrated on the microsite to ensure precise measurements usually unattainable in a blogger engagement programme (such as measuring the time spent per visitor on average per blog post).

BTL/On-ground support: To maintain a high level of interest during the event, attract on-ground traffic, and maintain a constant level of dialogue, real-time Twitter conversations were aired on LCD TV screens placed in each window display; a product demonstration booth allowed shoppers to try out the Lenovo laptops used by the bloggers; and trained product specialists from Lenovo provided on-site education on the laptops and the capabilities of Intel’s Core 2 Solo processor.

Digital agency: Ogilvy 360ยบ Digital Influence, Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide, responsible for the live integration of the visual capabilities of Flash

Blog platform: Wordpress, content management system

After the event, a video summarising the highlights was posted on YouTube.


Total hits on the micro-site: 3,705 people from 34 markets visited the microsite in five days; 88 per cent were from Singapore. The site helped build an organic database, with 353 votes cast on-site.

Total visitors / Blog participation: 3,958 unique visitors. A total of 140 blog posts were generated in 24 hours, averaging 5.8 blog posts per hour; 817 comments were posted in 24 hours, averaging 34 per hour. It was covered across eight news platforms, 51 external blogs, and a leading design portal,
With no prizes or activities created on the site to incentivise visitors, bloggers were challenged to create more engaging content than their rivals and to read and comment on posts. This resulted in 42,372 page-views in five days, averaging about 11.44 page-views per person; each visitor spent on average 12:04 minutes on the site, the equivalent of 24 30-second TV commercials watched consecutively in the same time period; the bounce rate was low at 32.42 per cent. Only three out of 10 visitors dropped out in under a minute, while around 10 per cent of visitors (300) viewed 20 pages or more.

Reference: Haymarket Media

Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

In-game Advertising - Next Big Thing in Digital Marketing

Video gaming is expanding in popularity across Asia Pacific and so is the practice of in-game advertising, as its offering available to marketers expands. In-game advertising (IGA) refers to the use of computer and video games as a medium in which to deliver advertising.

Companies like Google and Microsoft have already joined the bandwagon and are offering interesting propositions of in-game advertising. Microsoft, which bought Massive in May 2006, is a leader in placing dynamic advertising in games. The market is filled with many smaller players, such as a company called Double Fusion. But it's also attracting other big technology names, including Google, which bought AdScape Media for $23 million in 2007. The new ad format is provided by Massive Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Microsoft. In-game advertising is available through Microsoft Advertising across the region and campaigns are currently running in Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and Hong Kong.

Microsoft showed off its Massive advertising platform in Sep 2007. Flashing high above 43rd Street were clips from a series of games that showed avatars stopping to view a movie trailer for the Hollywood blockbuster 300. A Toyota advertisement also lined the outfield wall in a baseball game that's played on Microsoft's Xbox game console.

"The idea is to have advertisements appear and fit in naturally to the games just as they would in real life. But these advertisements are also dynamic. So the ads can be updated or changed by the advertiser at any time." -- Jay Sampson, VP, North American and Asia Pacific sales for Massive, Microsoft's in-game advertising marketplace.

"In-game advertising provider Massive Inc., acquired by Microsoft in 2006, has signed up or renewed contracts with several publishers, notably EA, Blizzard Entertainment, THQ, and Activision. Eagerly anticipated games like Need for Speed: Shift will feature the technology that continuously collects 'anonymous' information about users, sends them to the Massive database for analysis, and downloads advertisements to be shown in the game.

"The games industry sees in-game advertising as a promising new revenue stream. Video Games with revenue expected to break the $10 billion mark this year and garner over $300 million in advertising investment, the gaming industry represents a strong marketing opportunity.

Video gaming offers the opportunity to connect with traditionally difficult-to-reach consumers-- young affluent males. It attains the fourth-highest reach (after TV, internet and radio) against teens and heavy gamers. Not only can in-game advertising efficiently reach key consumers, it can also reach them while they are actively engaged with the medium.

In order to maximize the value of in-game communication, several studies have examined the role of brands within video games and players' attitudes towards gaming and in-game communication. The goal has been to learn how best to use games to create meaningful relationships between brands and consumers.

The results are a set of insights and guidelines that will help deliver more effective in-game communication.”
-- Fran Kennish, Senior Partner, Director of Strategic Planning at MEC MediaLab

Industry figures suggest that such advertisement could increase profits for publishers by an extra $1 to $2 per game unit sold - a significant increase over the current $5 to $6 profit per unit.

Publishers see this revenue stream as a way to offset growing game development costs, which are estimated to rise up to $20 million per title for a 7th generation console. Some developers believe that the extra revenue will reduce the risk involved in a game development project, allowing them to experiment with more innovative game-play and new ideas.

In-game advertising has even replaced purchase price as a revenue model for some mobile phone games. In 2005, spending on in-game advertising was US $56 million, and this figure is estimated to grow to $1.8 billion by 2010 according to Massive Incorporated, although Yankee Group gives a lower estimate at $732 million.

Yankee Group revealed that the global in-game advertising market, which generated $77.7 million globally in 2006, continues to develop at an exponential rate. By 2011, worldwide in-game advertising expenditures (fixed product placement/static ads and dynamic ads) will grow to $971.3 million.

"As ubiquitous connectivity continues to reshape the media and entertainment landscape, media fragmentation and clutter are a result, making traditional advertising channels less effective. Advertisers are increasingly finding in-game advertising to be a greater investment value because of the variety of opportunities that exist in and around games. Video games represent an 'above the line' opportunity, which means that video games should be used to build brands and not as a call to action that distracts from the game play." - Michael Goodman, Director, Digital Entertainment, Yankee Group's Consumer Research Group

In-game advertising is seen by some in the games industry as offering a new revenue stream, allowing developers to offset growing development costs and to take more risks in game play. Advertisers see in-game advertising as a prime way to target the male 18-34 demographic, who are increasingly neglecting television in favor of computer and video games.

However, some gamers see these moves as greedy and invasive, dubbing in-game advertising software as spyware. This view was demonstrated by the backlash against Electronic Arts' Battlefield 2142 which contained in-game advertisements from IGA Worldwide. This has not, however, stopped traditional firms such as Nielsen Media Research branching out into the in-game advertising space, by announcing a new video games ratings service (similar to Nielsen ratings) called GamePlay Metrics to serve in-game advertisers.

According to a recent news in Media Asia, McDonald's becomes Microsoft's first in-game advertiser in Hong Kong -- McDonald's is to set to unveil its first in-game advertising campaign for the Hong Kong market in conjunction with Microsoft Advertising. The initiative will feature a series of virtual 'McDelivery' billboards in five leading video games on the PC and Xbox 360 platforms. The games include PES 2009, The Need for Speed, Undercover, Rainbow Six: Las Vegas 2, NBA Live 2009 and Burnout: Paradise.

“There is a growing opportunity for in-game advertising because it is the only platform where people are completely immersed in one activity. When gamers play a game, they tend to only play the game. We don’t see trends that indicate they do much multi-tasking which would split their attention away from the game.” -- Richard Dunmall, Managing Director, Microsoft Advertising Asia Pacific

“Computer and online games are where young man and women often hang out with their friends these days. The in-game advertsing platform is suitable for advertisers like fast-food chains, sports and fashion brands alike who are looking to target the demographic using gaming. The in-game advertising is imbedded in the game environment, and should be an extension of advertisers’ existing marketing campaigns, as part of the media channels across multiple platforms". -- Kenneth Andrew, Marketing Director, Greater Asia Pacific, Microsoft Advertising

Digital Storytelling - An interesting tool to leverage social media platforms

An interesting and interactive technique to engage visitors on popular social media platforms is Digital Storytelling. According to Wikipedia "Digital Storytelling" is an emerging term, one that arises from a grassroots movement that uses new digital tools to help ordinary people tell their own 'true stories' in a compelling and emotionally engaging form. These stories usually take the form of a relatively short story (less than 8 minutes) and can involve interactivity. The term can also be a broader journalistic reference to the variety of emergent new forms of digital narratives (web-based stories, interactive stories, hypertexts, and narrative computer games). As an emerging area of creative work, the definition of digital storytelling is still the subject of much debate.”

Digital storytelling is the best weapon for media creatives. There are three ways in which digital storytelling was different from analogue storytelling. It creates a brand story, and doesn't just provide product information. Also, it allows marketers to pull in people, rather than pushing merely consumers. Thirdly, it creates significant word of mouth.
- Thomas Kin, Creative Director, Global Creative Team, Cheil Worldwide

Digital storytelling aims to make its audience spread the stories spontaneously by word of mouth and create a buzz over the internet. Lately various forms of commercial messages, including advertising on portal sites, microsites and games sites, have become more prevalent.

Some of the interesting campaigns in the recent times that leveraged digital storytelling are Samsung's 'Haptic Mission', Nike’s 'Be the Legend', “Hang in There Jack”, Zack 16 etc.

An interesting proposition would be using digital storytelling of a product in a campaign using social media platform to engage customers.

More interesting case studies on campaigns involving digital storytelling to follow soon….