In-game advertising has a great deal of appeal and there are an increasing number of opportunities to get a brand message inside of a game — whether it is track or field-side in a sports game, or some more subtle instance in a console shooter. With so much audience attention paid to games, and with the industry delivering revenues and eyeballs to rival mass, non-interactive media.
I have been noodling ways to get a brand into some of the better games — better defined as popular and hip with the right demographic — and in some cases, it just can’t be done.
After watching my sons get engaged with World of Warcraft, I began to play and realized there is absolutely no opportunities for a brand to slime its way into the game — say by paying Blizzard to build a piece of highly desired equipment “The Lenovo Runestone Of Understanding” or spell, “Aspect of the ThinkPad” (increases intelligence by 20 points for 30 minutes), etc..
Anyway, here’s a great case example of a brand that cracked WoW — Toyota — and they did it with an insider subtext that makes it all the cooler, but no less effective for non-players.
Backstory — sometime ago a machinma of a WoW raid made the rounds. For two minutes the raid leader discusses strategy, polls the other raid members, and in short geeks out over the preparations. One character, who has been sitting “AFK” (Away From Keyboard), suddenly springs up and bellows into his microphone, “Let’s do this! Leeroy JENKINS!!” and runs into the dungeon, ignoring all strategy resulting in the annihilation of the entire group.
Today the verb to “Leeroy Jenkins” means to charge in blindly and irresponsibly.
Here’s the clip. Watch it.
Then watch what Toyota has done. Not in the game, but on television. This works on so many levels, but especially well if you a) play the game, b) are hip enough to know about Leeroy and c) works if you don’t do either.