Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Let it out... let it all out. There, there, it'll be ok.

A lot of "healthy" feedback was unleashed today as we got more press coverage. The bad baggage of the brand came out in spades.

Ok, let's face it, Acclaim Entertainment (the old Acclaim, not my Acclaim) disappointed consumers. It's a classic story of when good brands go bad:

A brand is about building trust. Promising and then delivering upon promises. The old Acclaim made a lot of people unhappy (putting it delicately) because not only did it not deliver, it wasn't upfront about it.

When old Acclaim went away, they went away so fast, no one had a chance to let it out. So I'm here to say, let it out people. Let it all out. Tell me exactly how they abused your trust, let you down, or otherwise made you want to pummel something and I promise never to do the same.

You can put pictures in this thing?

33% of my readers have said I need to spruce up the blog with some pictures. (There's only 3 readers right now).

Well, you ask and you shall receive. Some artwork from BOTS, enjoy!

I call it the Dyson 5000. The BOT that never loses suction.

Search advertising not printing money? Say it ain't so!

In the past few years, you couldn't convince anyone that the cash to online search advertising would slow down. I don't want to use the G word but if you need any proof, just look at that P/E ratio. But alas, there are dissenting voices...

Clickz writes about an Avenue A/Razorfish report that prognosticates that online spend will increase 20 to 30 percent this year, thus, reducing the chunk of pie attributed to search.

Read the article here

Search is effective and not going away. We all love search, but it's by nature, finite. I don't think we're reaching anywhere close to the cap yet but one day... (My guess: late 2008, let's go for November 23).

[Update: I nailed it on this one. Woke up this morning and saw that Google took a beating on the market today. Turns out the finance chief says, 'The party can't last forever' (Ok, I took some creative liberty on that). Read the article here to see what he really said. ]

Monday, February 27, 2006

My shoulder weights

So here I am, drafting up a little email to some publications informing them about what we're up to. Ok, I'll be honest, it's a total cold call email. Which got me thinking about my earlier comment about looking beyond the marketer. Which then led me to do one of those gut checks that pop up periodically. Meet my shoulder weights:

On one side, there's Ken as marketer but even worse, Ken practically as telemarketer. (This guy has an MBA, not a four letter word, yet)

On the other side, there's Ken as gamer but even worse, Ken as gamer that really believes in this thing. (This guy played Everquest for 2 days straight)

So there you have it, pitchforking and flurrying white feathers on either side as they duke it out.

So the gamer speaks first: I really believe that interactive games are the coolest form of entertainment EVER. I believe that the distribution model, revenue model and content development processes in the industry are currently flawed. Do I believe that what I'm doing now is the right answer? Maybe not the entire answer but we're closer than anyone else is at the moment. (check out: digital distribution, Korean revenue, consumer content development)

The marketer wants his say: I also understand the game (pun intended) that has to be played to get your message out there. At the end of the day, you need to prove the model with real dollars before anything changes. Success breeds imitators and with enough imitation, the industry shifts.

Both sides are valid. The fight goes on.

I'm declaring a detente, we'll see how long it lasts.

The PR blitznanza begins!

So we're going full force with the PR push this week. I'm very happy with the coverage on GameSpot today. I especially like the interview since it really gave us a chance to explain what was going on. Now if we can repeat that a few hundred times, I may do something crazy and catch a few hours of sleep.

Conversation is what it's all about. I'm hoping to get a little deeper into what we're trying to do in subsequent conversations with the press. I'm also hoping they can see past the marketer and engage me in something between a news story and a philosophical exercise.

(And no, blitznanza is not a word, but boy is it fun to say)

The News is Out!!

I'm so excited! Gamespot has done the very first story on us. Read it here!

Saturday, February 25, 2006

In-Game Marketing

A fantastic article from the trade mag Promotions. Two particular data points popped out at me:

"In 2005, U.S. marketers spent $71 million on video game advertising, according to the Boston-based Yankee Group. By 2009, video game advertising is expected to skyrocket to $561 million"

"More than 40% of gamers respond well to products and services that appear in video games; about one-third said they are likely to buy products and services advertised. Some 57% of respondents said they are open to in-game advertising if it helps reduce the cost of the game."

Advertising always gets a bum rap but almost all forms of entertainment tends to reap major benefits (for consumers and producers) when advertising dollars start coming in. There's definitely a very small sweet spot between too much and just enough. The only way to solve that is to engage our empowered consumers. Today's consumer has more of a voice now than in any other time; the problem is, are we as marketers, listening?

Friday, February 24, 2006

The darkside beckons...

From my pals back at Tequila\, a microsite for PS2's MLB 2006 called "Ready for the Show"

Pretty funny clips (I need a bowling ball like that!) but I can't quite make the connection to the actual game or gameplay. But who am I to second-guess Playstation? Here's an idea, maybe we don't need to talk about the actual game anymore.

What if the next evolution of game marketing takes a pointer from Hollywood. Let's nail the trailer, the actual content doesn't matter. Maybe all contemporary marketing leads down that road.

Wow, ok, I'm scaring myself, I'll stop.

You will forget about this post... {waves hand}
I will forget about this post....

Talk about legroom...

It's a jet blimp! Ingenious but I'll pass on the first flight, thank you very much. Needs a better name, what about jimp?

Visa gets you in the games

Ok, so this post's headline sounds a little like I work for Visa. I don't, well I used to... oh nevermind. If you've been on the NBC Olympics site, you might have noticed the online games you can play on the Visa sponsored game area. Find it here: Visa Games

I'm not usually a fan of Wild Tangent but I have to admit, they must feel bigtime when they're making an advergame for Visa as part of the Olympics. Doesn't look half bad either but I don't know if I'm convinced it's worth it. Someone show me some ROI data. You do have ROI data don't you?

Kiss your game retailer goodbye...

Ok, maybe not yet, but based on this eMarketer report, we're getting there. Just shows that Acclaim is on the right track.

Digital downloading of content will go from 8% in 2005 to 22% in 2010. 70 Million US Internet users regularly play games online. 70 MILLION online gamers! I don't feel so geeky anymore!

Thursday, February 23, 2006

KFC's secret is slow cooking and slow ads

I love this new campaign for KFC. A coupon is hidden in a tv spot, to find it, you have to slow down the ad. Beautiful!

Read the article here! The KFC campaign site is here. I'll let you discover the coupon yourself.

Speaking of slowing down. There's no slowing down for us. Site launches tomorrow. I'm all giddy like.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Day 2: Provide context

Revive a brand. Launch an online game. Shake up an industry. Log it all on a blog.

I'm not sure where the blog will go but I will promise honesty. Heck, I might even take a stab at that open-source marketing thing everyone is talking about.

Today is day two. Site launches in a few days and we're shuffling around to get some PR initiatives in place. Information is slippery, once you let it loose, it's near impossible to control. Then again, sometimes it just sits there and does nothing. That's when you recruit some help, either paid or free.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Day 1: Create a Blog


Edited 3/12/06:

I decided to edit this first post and add a little bit about myself. So here goes:

Words that have described me: Gamer, Brand Manager, Chef, Interactive Strategist, Photographer, Writer, Only Child, Actor, One-Day Air Combat Fighter, MBA graduate, Prolific Reader, Surfboard Owner, Closeted Lover of Musicals, Life Long Californian but w/2 Year Tennessee Residency, Esoteric Questioner, and Leo/Dragon.

Enjoy the blog!