When Consumers Pay for Advertising

September 30, 2008 at 8:23 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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In my last entry, I posed the question, “would you mind seeing a logo all over your game if it were fun and free?” Many companies wonder about the answer to this question, too, as many “branded” mobile games are provided for free rather than for sale. This means that companies are pouring significant money into game development in hopes that consumers will take advantage of a free download and immerse themselves in the brand environment.

Some brands, though, have achieved the recognition and coolness factor required to charge for the brand experience. Think you would never pay to be advertised to? Let me ask you this: do you own a Harley-Davidson jacket? A LOST T-shirt? Companies do give away promotional items like John Deere caps and bank pens, but some companies have the brand clout to draw consumers in willingly. If you are ever in Atlanta and want to see a branding phenomenon, go to the New World of Coca-Cola Museum. Not only do people stand in line to pay admission – $15 for an adult – to be surrounded by Coca-Cola history and memorabilia for a couple of hours. Granted, there is the sample room, where you can enjoy limitless samples of Coke beverages from all over the world, including some unusual selections like mango fizz. What I really want you to notice, however, is the gift shop behavior. People pore over selections of Coke branded playing cards, picnic sets, clocks, and especially T-shirts, then shell out the money to take the brand home with them and display it for friends and family to see.

Other companies have succeeded in this brand fascination, too, such as Aflac, which in response to requests began selling stuffed ducks that quacked “Aflac” on its Web site. The proceeds – over $75,000 – went to a Children’s Cancer Center, while consumers all over North America played with plush brand quackers.

So how does a brand get to be so beloved? Are there any brands that could bring you to part with your money for more than just the product or service? Would you pay for an Aflac ringtone? Would you buy a Volkswagen Beetle T-shirt? Would you go pay admission to a Purina Pet Park? I’m eager to hear your opinions!

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