Demystifying Youth Culture’s Marketing Myths - Part 5
by Bill Carter
The Still Underestimated Value of Video Game Advertising
One of the most innovative mediums for communicating with today’s youth might also be one of the most overlooked – the video gaming industry. It’s hard to believe that despite more than a decade of importance in youth culture that marketers continue to undervalue the impact of the video game industry and video game advertising.
But the numbers don’t lie: according to a study from the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) almost 75% of US households play video games, and in 2010 sales totaled over $25 billion. According to recent research by DFC Intelligence, in 2010 brand advertising around video games totaled close to $1 billion in North America. The number accounts for both in-game and around-game advertising and is a fraction of what youth brands spend on traditional advertising and marketing. While marketers appear to be slow in realizing the impact of gaming, spending does appear to be trending up. Yahoo! News reported last year that customary thinking is predicted to take a turn in 2014 when it’s estimated that video game ad revenue will nearly double.
In the meantime, in game advertising offers brands a unique opportunity. Unlike a typical ad experience, gamers cannot fast forward through commercials or switch browser tabs during breaks from their favorite programing on streaming television sites. Real-world brands can add an element of realism to games like Grand Theft Auto, and creative license can translate those same brands to fantasy worlds like those in Halo. The key is to make branding a natural fit.
According to respondents of a recent survey conducted by Fuse Source, a pool of opinioned youth from across the country, brands like Mountain Dew, Pizza Hut, Nike, and a multitude of car companies are easy to recall when asked to name any brands they’ve noticed while gaming. Much like a product placement in a summer movie blockbuster, effective in-game branding adds to the storyline and does not distract from it.
So as many youth marketers begin their 2013 planning, we recommend a hard look at in-game and around-game advertising. Done correctly, in-game advertising is one of the most powerful tools to reach a captive young audience. When the large amount of leisure time spent playing games is taken into account, it’s surprising that more attention has not been paid to the genre by marketers.
Bill Carter is a partner at leading youth culture marketing services firm, Fuse. Bill has advised some of the most successful companies in America, including Pepsi, Yahoo!, Sony, Harley-Davidson, Gatorade, Converse, and others. He has been awarded Sports Business Journal’s Forty Under 40 Award as one of the most influential and important young executives in sports and named one of the 20 most influential people in action sports by that same media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fuse is an award-winning youth marketing agency that connects brands with youth through sports, music, fashion and other relevant youth cultural interests. Located in New York, NY and Burlington, VT, Fuse’s services include Consulting, Social Media and PR, Creative Services, Research and Event Marketing. For white papers, research, and other information, please visit us at www.fusemarketing.com, www.facebook.com/FuseLLC or www.twitter.com/fuse_marketing.