On Video Games and Red Bull

– By Paul Grainger

I received a fascinating email late last week: a media insights document that looked into the audience for Grand Theft Auto 5, one of the biggest video game releases of the year. The findings weren’t quite unexpected, but certainly of interest: the audience has a strong representation across all age groups, and are more likely to be married with children then the average gamer.

Revelations such as this indicate that the video game platform is opening up to new markets, and a broader reach, as well as great access to the elusive millennial demographic. Considering the growth in branded content as an advertising strategy, and as a dedicated gamer myself, I think there is a lot of potential for innovative campaigns based around this platform.

For example, let’s look at GTA 5. The infrastructure is already in place to support downloadable content (DLC) for most games being released into the current market, so why not a free, Red Bull sponsored DLC pack that literally gives your character wings? And there are infinite ways to approach the delivery.

Gaming is such a versatile platform that you can be subtle or obvious in the execution. Buy a 500mL can of Red Bull to redeem your code. Maybe your character has to drink a can of Red Bull in game to activate the power-up! Or even free: Brought to you by Red Bull.

Given the huge range of genres, the possibilities are endless. In much the same way we buy traditional media to suit the target audience, video games offer targeting options based on genre to hit the right demographics, making it easy to choose where to apply a marketing message.

In my experience as a gamer, traditional advertising methods applied to the gaming market are not successful; but with the onset of branded content I’m excited. In the right advertiser’s hands, you could associate your brand with a new offering for an established, popular game: and if the content is worthwhile, the players will show their appreciation.

Seriously, give me wings in GTA 5, and I’ll buy all the Red Bull you can ever want me to.