Monday, October 16, 2006

Role reversal in game marketing

A few weeks ago, I got an interesting email:

I just found your blog entry on Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Essentials for PSP:
[url to BN post] and I think you may be of some help to me. I'm reaching out to you on behalf of M80 & Capcom regarding Ultimate Ghosts N Goblins for PSP. Since you blogged about Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Essentials for PSP, I thought that you might be interested in posting the press release or a review of the game on your blog? You seem like a reputable influencer, so I think you'd be a big help to us. For your help or review, I'd be happy to send you a copy of Ultimate Ghosts N Goblins for PSP.
So I replied:

Thanks for the offer. I'd be happy to review the game; however, given that the topic of my blog is also about interactive marketing, I'd have to be upfront about this conversation and engagement with M80. If that is acceptable, feel free to send a copy of the game to: [my address, which you don't get to see, cuz you might do weird stalky stuff to me].
They reply with:
Thanks for your reply! It's wonderful if you post about this conversation and are transparent about your involvement with M80. I'm interested to see what you have to say about the process.
Fast forward about a week and a little brown paper package comes in the mail: free Ultimate Ghosts and Goblins from Capcom! You know, what tickles me the most about this is not the free Ultimate Ghosts and Goblins from Capcom. It's the role reversal of me going from game marketer to being marketed to as an influencer. Ahh, so this is how it feels on this side. It's kinda nice.

I was familiar with M80 before this email. In fact, I had thought about approaching them for some non-game clients. They're not a typical ad agency, rather they're experts at the word of mouth/viral marketing tactics that are so popular nowadays. What's very impressive to me was their eagerness for me to be transparent about the whole thing.

I don't like the covert stuff, you know, the stuff where people go and post on message boards like they're just a part of the community? This is something else entirely. This is inviting people that you think are vocal in the community to talk about your product. I like it, mainly because it's risky as hell. You have no idea if everyone you just sent Ultimate Ghosts and Goblins from Capcom to will end up hating it. But of course... if they love it, you get a major payoff in great word of mouth.

What did I think of the game? Stay tuned for the review post of... Ultimate Ghost and Goblins from Capcom!

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