PR 2.0

When you consider that we come into contact with more than 3,500 advertising and marketing messages a day – of which 99% have no impact1 – it seems clear that businesses need to apply some fresh thinking to their comms.

Digital technologies are, of course, playing an important role in leading innovation in this arena, enhancing everything from conventional PR (enabling twists on the now by-the-numbers ‘inter’ctive billboard’) all the way through to providing PR’s with entirely new communication platforms for their brands.

It’s the latter of these opportunities that has most excited IW this month – especially as throughout November we have seen an increasing number of brands realise the potential of the digital playground, leveraging computer game environments to publicise products, themselves (and in one case, good causes).

This trend can only be applauded as the computer game consuming public represents such a large – and diverse – group of people that is growing year on year.

Since the late 80’s, when the image of a ‘gamer’ was a slightly nerdish young man who spent rather too much time indoors, the demographic has broadened widely – with women now making up 48% of the gaming population2. In fact, there has been such a shift in the make up of the average video gamer that boy’s aged 18 and under now only make up 17% of the total gaming population, while women over 18 make up 36%3.

Gaming has of course matured along with its audience, and creatives now have at their disposal a hugely powerful comms platform.

Videogames can provide a complete, cohesive communications channel which when paired with sufficiently interesting creative, can yield huge ROI.

When some large online games will see more traffic in an day – at its peak, World of Warcraft has seen one million concurrent users4 – than Times Square (roughly 25,000 pedestrians an hour5) – marketeers should think hard on where best to focus their brands attention.

After all, we know where the attention of over half a billion people per day is fixed6. Firmly on their phone, PC, or PlayStation.

For any brand that is serious about communicating with its customers it is clear that increasingly they are best reached in the virtual world.