Friday, March 10, 2006

Scratchpad: Ben Sherman in Test Drive Unlimited

image: IGN. A screenshot from the upcoming Test Drive Unlimited for Xbox 360.

Eric Pfanner, "On Advertising: Getting in the Game." International Herald Tribune, March 6, 2006:

"In "Test Drive Unlimited," a new video game from Atari, players will get to choose their virtual wheels from a selection that includes Lamborghini, Ferrari and Mercedes. And, unusually for a genre in which car crashes generally count for more than fashion splashes, gamers will also be able to select their on-screen drivers' wardrobes."

"The ability to customize the racers' attire comes courtesy of Ben Sherman, a clothing brand popular among soccer fans in Britain and urban hipsters in America. Realizing that many young men spend more time with their Xboxes, Playstations or Nintendos than their televisions, Ben Sherman joined a growing number of marketers who see video games as a promising new frontier in advertising."

"For Ben Sherman and Atari, which is owned by Infogrames Entertainment of France, the potential audience seemed to intersect so well that it prompted a surreal twist. The partnership will extend beyond the in-game advertising and into a real-world link between the two brands, with Ben Sherman stores installing "pods" where customers will be able to take a spin at the controls of "Test Drive Unlimited." "You can go into the stores in the game, and into the game in the stores," Bartlett said. 'It's all pretty weird.'"

"Analysts estimate that spending on ads in video games could reach $1 billion a year by the end of the decade, up from around $300 million now and little more than $100 million two years ago."

"Gerhard Florin, general manager for international publishing at Electronic Arts, the largest video game publisher, estimates that advertising will eventually account for 5 percent to 10 percent of video game revenue."

"Because the game will allow users to play online, Ben Sherman will be able to update those billboards with changing seasonal displays on the PC version."

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