In a recent article titled “The Most Effective Ad I Ever Saw in a Video Game,” Kotaku’s EIC, Stephen Totilo (@stephentotilo) presents an interesting analysis of how a Dunkin Donuts advertisement has been thoughtfully integrated into SimCity Social.
In-game advertising has come a long way over the last few years. While offer walls and intrusive pop-up ads still exist, brand integration is something that people just haven’t been developing. That’s not the case in SimCity Social, thanks to an interesting arrangement between Dunkin Donuts and the game’s devs.
“What’s smart about the Dunkin ad,” writes Totilo, “is that it implies that Dunkin Donuts is quantifiably better than any old bakery or coffee shop.”
“Dunkin Donuts, you see, pays out 2200 silver SimCity coins per day. I need this money to improve my city. The [regular bakery] only pays 156 per five minutes. Since these places only pay out when you click on them in SimCity Social… the Dunkin Donuts is the better operation.”
It’s hard to imagine that this sort of exposure to in-game brands won’t happen more. Totilo points out a few iffy cases of integrated advertising, like Energizer in Alan Wake, where the consumer walks away completely unaware of the brand’s presence. Clearly, it takes creativity and enthusiasm to make something like this work. Of course, that’s on top of money. Speaking of which, I’d be very curious to see the financials behind this partnership between Dunkin Donuts and the SimCity Social developers.