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Get In the Game

Score marketing points with video game product placement.

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This story appears in the March 2004 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Hip businesses can now shoot for sales in a new way. Says Michael Oxman, managing director of JAM International Partners Inc. in Chicago, a firm specializing in video game product placement, this growing segment may be a better choice for some businesses than film and TV placement. "You target the gaming audience in the same way you target through traditional media," he explains. "Look at the game [and] who plays it, and identify opportunities that make sense."

Hoby Buppert, creator of Bawls Guarana (www.bawls.com), the world's most caffeinated soft drink, believes this marketing venue has potential for some products but can be deadly for others that don't appeal to cynical, marketing-savvy gaming audiences. "If the product is out of place, there's no quicker way to turn them off," advises Buppert, 30. He also believes that just putting a passive logo within the game does little for your brand. Instead, he insists that his product be featured as an interactive part of the game. In one game, Bawls bottle caps are used as currency. In another, the product's vending machines dispense energy points. If you're not making the product part of the game, he says, you're wasting your money.

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