Posted by Laura Fitch on January 1, 2010 03:05 PM
China's online gaming community is an untapped advertising and branding goldmine -- the country boasts the largest number of gamers in the world. Yet, despite the millions of online gamers in China, brand owners have not been able to successfully exploit the full potential of this lucrative demographic, reports Media Asia.
Though aloof, this market is not inaccessible. InGameAd Interactive, for example, implemented a marketing campaign for condom maker Jissbon by utilizing a discreet but deliberate approach to Chinese gamers. Jissbon condoms were packaged with an online game and sold at stores around Shanghai. The pairing quelled any social stigma or anxiety people might feel regarding the outright purchase of condoms. Says Steven Hu, CEO of InGameAd Interactive:
"Buyers could say to themselves, ‘Hey, I’m buying this gaming disc'... This [strategy] helped the brand achieve a huge differentiation in consumers’ eyes, and sales nearly doubled during the campaign.”
The branding potential goes beyond packaging, though the uncharted territory isn't without challenges. According to industry analyst Lisa Cosmas Hanson, the greatest obstacle in reaching Chinese gamers is marrying modern products that have an ancient Chinese or historical base with the modern realm of video games. The inertia and weight of such a storied culture and its inherent values doesn't exactly fit into the sleek, uber-realities of today's games. To date, less than three percent of revenue for online games comes from advertising in the virtual world of its characters.
With such enormous potential, China's online gaming space is unlikely to stay virtually ad-free for long. Innovative and savvy brands will lead the way in this emerging marketplace.