Cluster Mag on corporate branding inside the virtual worlds of video games:
Video games offer particularly lush marketing opportunities because they allow us to exist as agents in the digital beyond, a fantasy realm we’ve merely glimpsed through other media.
Once upon a time, a couple of consumer food brands partnered up with video game moguls like Capcom, Sega, and Nintendo to develop new games starring their bizarre spokescreatures like the jazzy, anthropomorphic California Raisins and Chester Cheetah.
Since the prehistoric days of advergaming, the transparent strategy of monopolizing the game world through an embodied mascot has mostly been ditched for a more savvy attempt at realistic product placement.
Several recent games go so far as to make the searching out and identification of brand names its central task, including Fashion Finder: Secrets of Fashion, in which 150 fashion brands participated, and Brandmania: Hidden Objects, an app created for the iPad, which sends players to different cities around the world to identify major brand logos “hidden” in realistic scenery. These kinds of games ask us to train a critical eye on a scene while simultaneously reinforcing every brand image they represent.
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