Games and Brand Extension – Do They Click?

For this article I wanted to look into the way that traditional games and gaming elements have been used to enter the mainstream space from a business standpoint to either incentivise consumers or engage them on a different level.

Games are primarily an entertainment medium, but that hasn’t stopped companies from having games developed to reach a different demographic than perhaps represents their core market. An ad campaign may run for 2 weeks, 4 weeks or 2 months but branding within a game can have a much longer shelf life. The most common example of brand extension within the gaming arena focuses on movie tie-ins. Many Disney/Pixar films release a game based on the film around the same date. It helps consumers engage with the film on a deeper level and get to know the characters and brand better making it ultimately more likely that additional purchases of merchandise or DVDs are made. The main issue with game tie-ins however is often they are rushed to coincide with the film release and most end up being fairly average titles. The sheer fact that the majority are aimed at a very young audience means though that children tend not to worry too much about this and just enjoy controlling the characters.

Looking at something completely different from an engagement aspect. Papa John’s pizza in the UK released a mobile gaming app which had you deal with pizza orders and create pizzas as perfectly and speedily as possible. App was priced at 69p with the hook being if you reached a certain score then you could earn a free pizza. It was a well made game and was quite a fun stand alone game as well as being challenging in the later levels. The only disappointing part was upon reaching your free pizza it was for collection only which limited me somewhat but was still a good prize.

Weight Watchers UK campaign last year focused on treating weight loss like a game thanks to the point system that was in use. It was an interesting take on things but it wasn’t continued for the 2013 marketing campaign. Arguably, despite the fresh take on losing weight, it didn’t engage the largely female audience of its membership base as even now, females are still in the minority when it comes to enjoying games. It perhaps didn’t resonate as strongly as it should have.

When there is a natural gaming tie-in that fits organically such as in Wreck-It-Ralph you get the best of both worlds – a good film and a very relevant game. You even have in-game advertising which can be seen in many of the Need For Speed series of games. Rockstar also create such believable worlds with their Grand Theft Auto series that there are teams dedicated to creating fictional brands within this universe – they actually extend their own brands within the games and also into the real world. Rusty Brown Ring Donuts is one that always springs to mind.

I’d be interested to hear any other examples you may have experienced perhaps in countries other than the UK.

The Best of Google’s Apps and Games – 2014

The results are out. Google announced the best of its Apps and Games for the year 2014 recently. The list seems to be somewhat similar to the ‘best of 2014’ list released by Apple earlier this month. Coming to the games, Candy Crush continues to be the most sought after games. It was the most downloaded game of the year. The tech giant has put apps into a number of categories. The categories include mobile photography, education, social, health and fitness etc. As per the list released by Google, ‘Health and Fitness’ is growing real fast in the apps category as a result of which, the developers are speeding up the process of making the apps compatible with Google’s Android Wear line of smart watches.

What’s the most downloaded?

The most downloaded Google apps by category are Duolingo in the education category, MyFitnessPal in the health and fitness category, Pandora in the music category, Flipagram in the photography category, Facebook in the social category, Netflix in the entertainment category, NFL Mobile in the sports category and TripAdvisor in the travel category, Health and Fitness falls into the year’s fastest growing app category.

The most downloaded Google games are ‘Candy Crush Saga’, Don’t Tap the White Tile’, ‘Farm Heroes Saga’, ‘Subway Surfers’ and ‘Clash of Clans’. In the Achievements category, Google play games users unlocked 3.5 billion achievements in this year.

Google has good news for all the Android users. The Android users can now find the top-rated apps of the year on the Google Play Store. The Google Play has a section called ‘The Best Apps of 2014’. This section features a total of 64 apps that include popular apps like Shazam, Uber, TuneIn Radio, Skype Qik, Group Video Chat and Secret. However, only a few apps among these 64 apps can be downloaded free of cost. Some of the paid apps are Ultimate Guitar Tabs & Chords, Facetune, Afterlight, Amazing World Atlas, 7 Minute Workout Challenge, djay2 and Over.

Compared to last year, the number of Google games that have been downloaded has exceeded the number of Google apps that were downloaded by about sixty percent as per the q3 results in 2014. The popularity of Google games has contributed to a good growth in revenues in the third quarter of the year 2014. Looking at the popularity of the games and apps, it is expected that Google would very soon announce few more Android apps and games that would be compatible with Chrome OS. It is easy to hire an iPhone developer or an Android developer today and making useful and quality applications are so much easier today.

Some of the Largest Brands Are Using Game Based Apps For Advertising and Promotions

Over 550 businesses and schools have used a scavenger game application available on iPhone and Android mobile devices to drive and enhance their advertising and promotions. The SCVNGR app development platform includes notable users such as the Boston Celtics, Boston Globe, New England Patriots, Journeys, The New York Times, Universal Music Canada, Warner Bros, as well as colleges and universities including Princeton. Using mobile games as a platform for ads and promotions is one of the latest trends in consumer engagement, especially the millennial generation that grew up on video gaming.
 
The essence of the SCVNGR platform is three interconnecting elements: Challenges, which are things to do at places; Treks, which connect places and challenges; and Rewards, that offer benefits for playing. Players earn points in a Challenge – checking-in is worth a point, telling your friends where you are is worth 2 points, and and providing content about a location such as a picture is also worth 2 points. The platform’s database is understood to include already over 20 millions locations.
 
Marketing opportunities abound, from directing a Trek to a specific location with advertising and promotion opportunities along the journey and at the destinations, through utilizing consumer experiences and user generated content that involves the brand at Challenges and Treks. Of course, the Rewards can easily be tied to photo opportunities and further promotions. Fun and games are thereby able to leverage off brand related content, locations & competition.
 
For instance, a Philadelphia Diamond retailer, Robbins Diamonds, fashioned an interactive city-wide treasure hunt to find a hidden diamond ring. Clues were delivered to competitors cellphone’s by SMS text messages, mobileweb or in-app notifications. Pre-event publicity and media coverage included media from traditional print through to digital blogs. As a result, there were almost 2,000 applications for the 250 available spots and 2.5 million impressions for the retailer in TV, print, radio & internet immediately before their busiest season. See the full case study at scvngr.com

Advertising and promotions are no longer one way streets – mobile apps like SCVNGR & others are paving the way for experiential marketing utilizing the mobility benefits of those media and mediums that are with us 24/7 – the mobile phone. As Robbins Diamonds was able to accomplish, you can use a mobile app to rise above the noise produced by your competitors and saturated ad markets. As well, by involving your customers in an experience they will remember and associate with your product, you are creating a positive top of mind recall event that will be hard to match through conventional ads or promotional opportunities.

Smart Ways To Use the iPhone and Apps for Kids

How to use the iPhone when playing with kids? Of course, there are plenty of apps for kids. Let’s see how we can use them more creatively.

  • Use it as a bribe or a reward. Anyone who has ever been a parent can tell you that it is no easy feat to discipline or raise a child. Having said that, if your child is into the iPhone, you might as well use it to your advantage in every way possible. One of those ways is use it as a bribe or a reward. If there is a specific task that you need your child to accomplish and he refuses to, use the iPhone as a bribe. It can also be used as a reward in situations where you feel your child deserves recognition for her hard work.
  • Use it for educational purposes. Who says it isn’t possible to both have fun and learn all at the same time? With the iPhone, it most definitely is. Pick out games that are both entertaining and educational and sit down with your child and show him or her how much fun it can be. Your child will thank you in the future.
  • Use it to pass the time. Gone are the days when children would throw tantrums or complain incessantly due to long waiting times-whether in restaurants, dentist appointments, or what have you. Pull out the iPhone and let your kids enjoy it while waiting.
  • Use it as an opportunity to bond. These are the days when it isn’t very common for families to get together and bond. But the iPhone can change that for you and your kids. There are countless games on the app store that the whole family can participate in and play together. Remember that kids grow up so fast. So seize every opportunity to be with them while you still can.
  • Use it as a “lite” punishment. Believe it or not, the iPhone can be a useful tool for when your child has done something wrong. For instance, if your son has called his sister names or took her candy, you can punish him by taking away his iPhone privileges for a week or two. Psychologists say that limiting the pleasure is the most effective way to make the child realize his faults.

These are only some of the ways you can use the iPhone as a tool to educate your child and keep him or her engaged while you are getting much needed relaxation time. Feel free to give these tips your own personal spin or add your own twist to it to make the experience more enjoyable for your kids.