Four Wheels of Fury!

Posted: October 8, 2007 by Kendricke in Everquest 2, World of Warcraft

So you thought that World of Warcraft in a South Park episode was a marketing coup, eh?  How about World of Warcraft during a football game.

That’s right.  World of Warcraft and Toyota apparently teamed up to produce a Toyota truck commercial inside World of Warcraft which played DURING the football games this past weekend.

Tell me if the truck “driver” doesn’t sound like Dane Cook?

(Video below the cut)

I see marketing like this, and get physically upset when I think about the trip to Best Buy to see row upon row of World of Warcraft boxes, hats, maps, books, and t-shirts…but just 2 outdated boxes for Everquest II.  I can’t recall the last time I even heard of an Everquest II ad – no magazine, radio, or TV ads anywhere.  I’m not looking for a Superbowl ad, mind you.  I’d just be happy with something

And this, of course, leads into today’s discussion topic:  How important is marketing for established games? 

Talk amongst yourselves. 

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Comments
  1. Xeavn says:

    I just have to say that was an awesome commercial. I think the most interesting thing is that Toyota thinks there are enough World of Warcraft players to make that commercial worth thier while. They did announce that it was World of Warcraft but they didn’t really give much explaination other than that. So unless you play MMO’s or have a family member who plays WoW that likely left you scratching your head.

    To me this is a sign that Video gaming is beccoming less geek culture, and more mainstream. I think a lot of poeple are beginning to see it as not something that is just for kids anymore, which is something most of us have known for years.

    I will agree that it is somewhat sad that Everquest II has not done as well in the marketing department. They don’t have a commercial or a TV show about the game, but they also do not have the number or players that World of Warcraft does. It doesn’t mean Everquest II is a worse game, or inferior, just less popular.

    I think Sony has hurt themselves in the area of marketing by allowing digital downloads though. How many existing players just download it the second it comes out, instead of going to the store to buy it? This results in stores like Best Buy looking at thier sales for the game and seeing that only a few poeple have bought it. Of course they aren’t going to carry a lot of copies. They aren’t selling a lot of copies. WoW on the other hand did eventually allow digital downloads, but I don’t think they did right away. This means that most of the WoW fans had to go the store and purchase a box. Best Buy sees lots of box sales, and starts carrying more product. Instant Advertising.

  2. Kendricke says:

    It’s chicken or egg though. We can argue that Everquest II isn’t as marketed based on sales…or we can accept that marketing is performed to bring in new sales.

    SOE seems to have accepted a more grass roots, word of mouth, talk to influencers style of marketing, whereas Blizzard’s gone for the mainstream.

    Even Maple Story has advertisements on TV right now.

  3. AverageJoe says:

    ya, I saw that commerical between Florida and LSU and was telling my friends about how important that was to see and the marketing ability of MMOS….Thanks for reminding me of that.

  4. Chris says:

    SoE tried a commercial for EQOA once. I think it hurt the game more then helped.

  5. Kendricke says:

    Yep, I still love to harrass developers from time to time by reminding them that “it’s time to slay the dragon”.

  6. Wilhelm2451 says:

    Very cool commercial, but this is Toyota trying to market to a youth/gaming audience. This isn’t Blizzard marketing any more than putting an NFL player in a Tacoma would be football marketing. It is a sign of Toyota being worried that the average age of their car buyers is creeping closer to that of Buick’s.

    That Toyota chose them is, however, the net result of Blizzard’s marketing, which, as I made the point previously, is directly related to Blizzard’s past success. They get the shelf space and end-cap displays because their boxes sell.

    What was the last item SOE put on the shelves? Vanguard! I saw piles of Vanguard boxes on display at my local BestBuy. So SOE has some muscle, too bad the product didn’t.

    I bet that lost SOE some credibility in the retail world. It just got that much harder to get a display at BestBuy.

    SOE doesn’t just have to compete with Blizzard, it has to compete with its own past as well. Blizzard’s past is an asset to Blizzard.

    But back to marketing, exactly how do you market MMOs? People always say that SOE does a crappy job, but the suggestions that usually follow up that sort of criticism are generally high budget. Things like TV spots or ads in magazines like Time are of dubious worth, and they were certainly things Blizzard did not feel they had to try when they were, say, under 1 million subscribers.

    Aside from the current SOE grassroots campaign, with them going out to events like Gencon and talking to gamers along with their focus on community, what should Sony be doing?

  7. Killzum says:

    The more of that stuff that hits the screens the better as far as i am concerned. The more mainstream the world of MMORPGs becomes I feel that the more the industry will improve. Of course that’s if the extra revenue obtained from becoming more miansteam and popular goes to the right places for development. All in all, I am pleased when I see things like this. I think the long term benefits outweigh the cons.

  8. Kendricke says:

    Willhelm,

    Actually, Blizzard did try TV spots when they had less than 1 million subscribers. Several spots played in key markets in the U.S., and then massive marketing campaigns played in key markets in Asia as well.

    As far as what SOE could do differently regarding marketing, that was virtually the entire point of the last two “community summits”, which have completely shifted gears from design pow wows to marketing brainstorms. There was no official design presense present at the last two EQ2 summits, as the summits were based nearly entirely around marketing and community development, wheras the first three summits were nothing but developers and players.

    As a matter of fact, the last two summits weren’t even exclusively regarding EQ2, and were in fact multi-game summits…some of which were attended by players who didn’t even have current SOE subscriptions.

    If that’s any indication of the back room thinking going on at SOE, that’s a shift of tectonic proportions. They’re no longer worried about upsetting players in-game so much as they are at bringing in new players…and that message came across loud and clear at the February summit in San Diego, and again at the August summit in Las Vegas.

    SOE asked for ideas and a ton of good ideas came in regarding things SOE could do differently. All manner of concepts were discussed, and more than a few marketing executives handed out cards and email addresses to players who were particularly creative or vocal with their ideas.

    Will they follow up with some of the suggestions? I think they will. In fact, I think some of the suggestions are already coming through…while others are obviously not. It’s frustrating at times, because I’ve been involved in a lot of the processes from an insider’s perspective for most of the past 3-4 years…and yet I’m just an outsider at the end of the day.

    There’s a lot I’d like to see done. There’s a lot of resources SOE could use to accomplish those things.

    By the way, I’m not just saying these things as a complete novice to the ideas of retailing or marketing. I think many folks might be surprised to find that I’m a project consultant who specializes in the subjects here in the Twin Cities. I won’t go into detail on my clients, but it shouldn’t be hard to figure out that there’s more than a couple Fortune 500 retailers and suppliers based in and around Minneapolis. Add in the fact that my degree was based in mass media and sales and it might make a bit more sense why this particular subject appeals to me as it does.

    …and why it can be particularly frustrating for me at times.

  9. Wilhelm2451 says:

    Six paragraphs in response to what SOE should be doing, and not a single example? Was political science your minor? 🙂

    Kendricke in ’08!

  10. Kendricke says:

    – Cross-marketing in DVD’s or before films. After all, SOE is under the umbrella of Sony Pictures Entertaiment, not SCEA. Why aren’t we seeing buddy keys slipped into movies by Columbia/Tristar or Sony Pictures Classics?

    – An Everquest film. See above. Fortunately, this one seems to becoming a reality.

    – Buddy keys and ads slipped into PS2/PS3 games. Even if it’s just for games that SOE had a hand in, that’s still a big deal.

    – Everquest II branded “debit” cards which also include buddy keys. Takes next to no shelf space and can be mass produced less expensively than demo DVDs. Similar media can be used to produce expansion cards which unlock downloads online.

    – Everquest branded action figures/statuettes. Each one comes with a code to download special access items online.

    – Specifically targetted TV ads. Pick shows/channels that fit the correct demographic in specific markets.

    – Cross marketing ON TV shows or in movies. See the first listing regarding Sony Pictures, and realize that any show or movie made by Sony which includes computer games being played could include screens of Everquest II starting up and being played. Cheesy? Yes. Effective? It can be very effective when used correctly.

    – Guild based buddy keys. Allow guilds which have X number of members or which are Y months old to give away free or discounted downloads or expansions from time to time. This has the added benefit of letting guild leaders recruit for your game for you.

    And these are just some of the relatively less expensive routes SOE could pursue that have been mentioned at those Summits or elsewhere. Instead? We get Google adsense ads on their Everquest II homepage (That’s right – go to http://www.everquest2.com right now and take a gander at the right hand side of your screen.)

  11. Wilhelm2451 says:

    Ouch!

    Okay, I do not like the EQ2 home page to start with. It seems too busy and too crowded to me, plus it actually has little in the way of information that I need. Tacking ads on to one side was not an improvement.

    What is the point of having 3rd party ads on your games main page?

    Hey, let’s see if we can drive some traffic to somebody elses site!

    Did AdSense suddenly become lucrative? Is SOE marketing having a budget crisis after flying you all out for summits?

    This is the sort of thing that keeps SOE from being taken seriously.

  12. Xeavn says:

    I agree. The ads on the Everquest 2 home page look really, really tacky. I can’t imagine they are making enough money on ad clicks to be worth the negative press they likely get from it. Plus what kind of message does that send to a new player who visits the site to find out about the game and if it is worth playing? To me it seems to say we are doing so poorly that we need ads to support our game. That is a great message to be sending a new player.

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