Thursday, March 01, 2007

Assault on TandA Island

In the world of online advertising, there's an arsenal of tactics that you can use to hit your audience. There's search marketing, the sniper rifle of advertising, where you buy ads to show up when someone search keywords that you've picked. There's banner advertising, the selective target bombing of sites. And then there's the homepage takeover: the nuclear option, the equivalent of dropping a big ass bomb in a civic center and trying to take anyone with a heartbeat.

It's expensive and it's inefficient but damn does it get some attention! The homepage takeover can come in many forms, from a relatively innocuous box ad on the homepage to multiple ads and areas taken over for maximum exposure. I'm not a fan of this tactic because it's really wasteful and can be annoying to irrelevant audiences. Case in point: today's homepage takeover on Gamespot, brought to us by Battlestations Midway.

The game appears to be a WW2 sim that allows you to play on air, sea and undersea. At least, that's the only pertinent information I was able to get from the advertising. The major message from the ads can be summarized as this: "Check out all the great tits and ass artwork we can make".
I'm male and I'd be a damn liar if I didn't say I appreciate the female form. However, there's a time and place for this type of thing (late at night, candles lit, a bottle of CabSav and a dimly glowing laptop) and it is not in a homepage takeover for this game. It doesn't make sense in several levels.

First, from a gamer (male) point of view, it's insulting. Are we really so Neanderthal as to buy a game merely in the hopes of seeing pinups? Surely there are easier ways to get our flesh fix (where are my candles?). I'd like to think it'd take a bit more convincing for us to plop down money on this game. I'd like to think we look for things like... I don't know, gameplay?

Second, from a marketing point of view, this takeover will no doubt get a ton of response and some awareness for the title. However, a majority of that response is going to be the wrong kind. Will the game, like the fine stitching on a bra strap, really get any attention? Will they actually be able to push units? I really don't think so. No doubt the agency responsible for this takeover will tout the incredible response delivered by this campaign BUT... like most agencies, they'll never make the connection to actual sales.

I do have to credit them for knowing how to use a homepage takeover. If you're going to bombard everyone coming to a site, regardless of interest, you might as well find a common denominator. MMO guys, FPS guys and RTS guys will all take notice. In the narrow scope of the actual tactic, this will no doubt be wildly successful. But unfortunately, that's all.

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