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Media Intelligence : 2008 Intelligence
digital Playing the game Although in its infancy, in-game advertising is a great opportunity for savvy marketers, says Jamie Crick, National Product Manager,MediaSmart. targeting based on the game so we knowroughly the age groups playing each game so we can define audiences that way. Do virtual worlds represent much value to marketers or are they just the latest fad? I think that for both in-game and virtual worlds, it is very early days. The numbers aren’t huge yet but they will be. There are several marketers who want to be involved in something when it is emerging and so those advertisers have come on board. Even with in-game advertising, the numbers aren’t massive, but we want to be positioned for when it does become massive. I think there is value now as long as people recognise the numbers of people using it aren’t huge, but the advertising is priced well. It isn’t something you can really throw$100,000 at, but if you want to send a message into new areas that you knowaren’t yet crowded by other advertisers, then it is worth doing. Where does in-game advertising sit in the market at the moment? There are basically two types. There is what is called static in-game advertising and there is dynamic. Static is when you actually build something into the game, and every copy ships with that embedded into it. For example, you might be cruising through a world and you can go into a Ben Sherman store to buy something. That sort of thing can’t be served dynamically, and is actually built into the game. We aren’t selling that because it goes to everyone in the world and our advertisers obviously only want to reach Australians. What we sell is the dynamic in- game advertising which is actually serving ads into predefi ned positions within the game, so the games have to be online at the time, via either their console or PC. The ad server recognises that they are in Australia playing one of these games and will pull an ad in and display it in a billboard, or poster position. And how targeted is the technology? They don’t have any personal information, they just knowthat they are in Australia, and the game that is being played. But we can do some demographic 60 MEDIA Trends + Strategy Has the rapid growth in the digital sector been handled well from the agency side? Yes, absolutely. I think they are really embracing it. We have found that most of the advertising we have had has come from the movie studios, because they recognise that it is mainly an 18–34 year old male demographic which is becoming increasingly hard to reach on other media. Video game publishers also have to be very careful about which games they will put advertising into because the advertising has to be realistic. Gamers are a very sensitive bunch. If they feel that they are being exploited, or that something is inappropriate, the backlash will be very swift, and quite severe. What will the next 6-12 months mean for advertisers in the in-game space? I think what it will primarily mean is that the numbers will start to get to where it is mass. PC gamers have been online for years, but with the XBox 360 and the PS3 starting to take hold, we will start to see those numbers get to levels where you can mass market. With the growth of broadband penetration, people having their consoles on all the time is going to be the norm and you can reach a lot more people through this medium.