There's been a lot of interest lately from advertisers who want to put their ads inside video games. Done right, these ads can be pretty effective. Done poorly, and they cheapen the game and make the advertiser's brand look silly. But Burger King has taken things a step further, deciding that sticking its ads inside games -- as it's done before -- isn't quite enough, and instead just making its own branded video games. It's selling three games for the Xbox 360 that feature its characters like The King and the Subservient Chicken for $5 each in its stores, hoping to hook the hamburger-eating game players. This isn't the first time companies have made these "advergames", but the real marketing value of what Burger King is doing isn't clear. Perhaps the games's availability will drive some Xbox 360 owners into BK locations to buy the game, but that doesn't seem particularly likely. And if they simply wanted to get the games out to as many 360 users as possible, they could have given them away through the Xbox Live Marketplace. For what it's worth, a BK exec defends the move, saying they worked with the Xbox "because, like Burger King, Xbox is a challenger brand that wants to change the status quo and push the limits of what can be accomplished in the marketplace. Both brands take risks and strive to be the best in their respective fields. We also have very similar core target audiences or heavy users." Now there's a message that's sure to get through to video-game players, and is certain to sell more hamburgers. Obviously the company's going down the advertising-as-entertainment route, but it's hard to see just how having people play The King at checkers or something will have a significant impact on Burger King's sales.
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