Sunday, May 21, 2006

It is obvious to all of us that advertising is blatently in our faces 24/7. Last semester I took a media class with Professor Lancaster and we discussed where advertising was heading. Interactive commercials? more pop ups? etc. We never outright discussed WOM and its effects, but taking this class has made me begin to think.

Last week in class, we read Steve Currans chapter "Changing the Game" in the book, Connected Marketing. In it, he discusses Halo 2's 'ilovebees' promotional game. For those of you who aren't familar with this promotional gimic, at the end of the Halo 2 movie trailer, the website www.ilovebees.com flashed across the screen. Those who visited the website were then drawn into this fantasy world based on the new game. Now, I am not a gamer, nor had I heard of this website until it was brought to my attention via this book, but this is just one example of many that shows the trend of drawing the customer in and in doing so, creating buzz.

Another example, is ABC's hit show LOST. Now again, I am not an avid watcher of this show, but my friends are what you may call obsessed. They're the ones checking the posts after the show to figure out what exactly is going on and obsessively reading the theories online. What some of you may not know if you're not a LOST junkie, is that ABC actually advertises 'fake ads' that run simutaneously with the show. If a LOST fan actually realizes that this ad is actually part of the show and goes to the website www.hansofoundation.org, a world of intrique and clues to the show is at their fingertips. Thus again generating more buzz.

Now my question is- both these examples have an extensive fan base to begin with. These interactive websites are drawing in, what I would assume are, already die-hard fans. (I haven't done the actual research to prove that or not) Although these programs draw in the consumer and make them feel as if they were part of the product, are these interactive programs bringing in new consumers?

My point is, that these products would be successful with or without these added interactive games due to their fan base. Was the companies goal to just intrigue those who they already knew would buy the game, or to just generate buzz in hopes of more customers buying the product? I know for myself, I will continue to watch LOST whenever I'm hanging out with my friends, but knowing that there is some website out there that will answer all of my burning questions, really does nothing for me. But that's just me personally, you may feel differently.

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