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Get In the Game

Score marketing points with video game product placement.

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By Gwen Moran

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Hip businesses can now shoot for sales in a new way. SaysMichael Oxman, managing director of JAM InternationalPartners Inc. in Chicago, a firm specializing in video gameproduct placement, this growing segment may be a better choice forsome businesses than film and TV placement. "You target thegaming audience in the same way you target through traditionalmedia," he explains. "Look at the game [and] who playsit, and identify opportunities that make sense."

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

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