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Ansible Berkman: And now, we already have a few questions lined up. Let's see what the audience has to say. Divo?
Divo Dapto: My question is what essentially is the difference between the real world and virtual words - from a marketing communications perspective? In other words, what opportunities do virtual worlds offer that real world does not?
Hamlet Au: Marketers need to be playful, need to embrace the fantasy aspect, need to embrace the ability to suddenly morph into a squirrel with a jetpack or just like I did, jump on the table and start playing air guitar.
Fizik Baskerville: Most of our clients are interested in developing brand equity, not sell directly, therefore, the gap between RL and VW marketing is really blurred.
Boliver Oddfellow: If I might make so bold the key to reaching today’s end users in this marketing space can be summed up in the words: don’t sell me, play with me.
Fizik Baskerville: By building a relationship and creating content that adds values, it’s a two way dialogue. As Boliver just said, its about giving 'props' for people to add value to their VW experience. Very much as we've just done with the BBC and 20th Century Fox.
Tetherdown Book: My consumption in VR worlds is friction free, so I've gone nuts - bought houses, clothes, shoes galore. In the real world, I can't buy a stamp, I hate shopping so much. So there is a giddy quantity to virtual consumption which is playful.
Boliver Oddfellow: Which begs the question re retailers entering this space like AA, is taking a “if we build they will come” approach enough or do you have to imbue your sim with some sort of playful corp culture?
Ansible Berkman: We can move on to Jeff's question.
Jeff Wakawaka: First, I wanted to say hi to all of the panelists and that I'm very excited I got to come see this. I've been talking about it at the office all week and everyone now thinks I'm a freak because I nearly wet myself over a virtual panel discussion on avatar-based marketing.
Anyway, I know that both American Apparel and Rivers Run Red, as well as a host of other companies (both virtual and real) that I haven't mentioned have created branded experiences within Second Life. From an advertiser's perspective, what are the types of quantitative results (specifically with regards to engagement) that I should expect from doing something similar? And what recommendations does each of the panelists have for balancing both an advertising client's interests with maintaining the cultural integrity of Second Life?
SNOOPYbrown Zamboni: Last question is interesting because many of the groups wanting to get in from the outside aren't interested in the 250,000 "accounts" currently in sl but want to build a space that their existing communities can come into. They don't want to disturb or in many cases even interact w/ an existing culture here.
That's unique to sl w/ its country metaphor but that is changing too. See the flight to islands -- it'll be a flight to networked spaces soon.
Hamlet Au: I think Second Life has long passed the days where it was a hothouse utopia where any hint of the outside world, especially the corporate for-profit world, causes much of a ripple. Now the challenge is to create cool, lasting, *exciting* experiences--and the companies are competing on an equal level with the best creators in SL.
Hamlet Au: "causes a giant controversy", I meant to say. Now, corporate involves "causes scarce a ripple".
SNOOPYbrown Zamboni: Resistance has systematically fallen. Been fascinating to watch. I remember the days when you couldn't get an island. Fizik here got the first
and some ppl thought the sky was falling!
Boliver Oddfellow: That is THE key: if you don’t make your corp presence here both interactive and immersive so that you provide the end user with a brand positive experience then you are truly missing the boat.
Ansible Berkman: Goh, you had a comment about spamming, which may be appropriate now?
Goh Mfume: Ah, yes. There are concerns about commercial spam and adverts entering VWs... but it's a bit ironic that spam and adverts are already here...just look at what players have done in SL. billboards everywhere.
Fizik Baskerville: In RL, the real media companies are finding it hard to sustain results via 'billboard advertising.
Glitchy Gumshoe: Isn't it just that putting up billboards is a lot cheaper and easier to do then designing environments?
Goh Mfume: It's already here, and companies will have to compete with all the individual entrepreneurs to be heard.
Cristiano Midnight: To address Jeff's question, as well as the issue of spam...again I think that any RL company that comes into the enviroment and does not understand it is doomed to fail.
Boliver Oddfellow: The real world company that comes in here and [does] strictly a billboard campaign will learn very quickly why you don’t alienate the consumer base. It’s suicide.
Razor Rinkitink: Look at early web pages with blink tags and crawling marquees. It takes time to learn subtle techniques.
Cristiano Midnight: Second Life residents especially have been very sensitive to the encroachment of the big bad RL business...not in the forms we see, but in the dreaded form of Coke billboards spread all across SL and plastered on buildings.
SNOOPYbrown Zamboni: Most companies (to generalize) coming in from the outside should have their own private space, an island, and invite ppl to come to them.
Cristiano Midnight: Companies that really get SL and understand how to take a more lifestyle approach to their marketing will have far more success than those who just treat SL as another ad buy opportunity.
Fizik Baskerville: Actually just one thing. In RL billboards rely on 'footfall' and 'eyesballs' to work, in SL we have no major routes or areas that fit that RL convention. Therefore it really shouldn’t be a problem here, especially since p2p tp.
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