Game Marketing Tips, Analysis, and News

Monday, June 21, 2010

How Not To Market

This web site has a good take on some viral marketing campaigns that were poorly conceived from the start, and ended badly. Not surprisingly, the Splinter Cell promotion is one of them.

Yes, it's possible to get into trouble when you get too creative with your marketing ideas. How do you avoid this? Give your marketing ideas some reality checks before implementing them.

  1. Is it legal? If you're not sure, you'd better check the local ordinances. If you're doing some kind of event, you may need a permit. Or you may need to talk to the local police department and get clearance, or at least inform them of what's going to be happening. Property owners should be consulted; if you're not on their property with permission you could be in trouble.
  2.  Is there a danger? If you have someone dressed up in a military outfit and carrying a weapon or three, even though they may be toy weapons, this should be a red flag. Police might well be called by nervous citizens, and people who wave toy weapons around can get shot. Danger can come from stunts or feats, or it can come from just looking dangerous.
  3. Will this help? Once you've figured out if your stunt is legal and not dangerous, you do have to consider whether it will actually help your marketing efforts in some way. What's the goal of this stunt? How does it translate into added sales? Ultimately, if you can't show how stripping down to a thong, painting yourself blue, and standing next to Apple's headquarters will help make more money from your iPhone game, you shouldn't do it, even if it is legal and not dangerous. Your marketing efforts should be oriented to making money, and you should have a way to measure their effectiveness. If you want to pull a stunt to raise awareness of your product, hoping that higher awareness means higher sales, then measure it! Don't pull some stunt that will make you and your product look bad, annoy customers, or otherwise cause problems.
So have a chuckle reading about this foolish marketing stunts, and notice how application of these three reality checks should have prevented these marketing disasters.

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