The connections between the article and relevant area of theory in GMC
This article can be related to a very important theoretical question that remains relevant for people who study and practice global marketing communications (GMC). Both advertisers and manufacturers try to determine whether it is necessary to standardize their marketing message or adapt to the needs of a particular language and culture when they attempt to popularize their products in foreign countries. Overall, this choice depends upon the goal that the company intends to achieve. If the main objective is to attract the customers’ attention to a specific product and convince them that it is worth buying, one should adjust marketing strategies to a specific region to overcome linguistic or cultural barriers. However, if the company intends to increase awareness about the brand, the management can prefer standardization since it relies more on the use of visual aids.
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This question is equally important for market researchers and for business administrators, who need to find ways of reducing the expenses related to advertising. The trends identified in this article show that standardization is becoming more popular among advertisers, especially if we are speaking about in-game advertising and product placement. These communication methods are not determined by language, socio-economic conditions, or culture. They rely on visual rather than verbal messages and can be noticed and understood by customers, irrespective of their language. Advertisers believe that these commercials will have the same impact on customers from different countries and cultures. By using these communication methods, the companies will be able to appeal to global customers on the one hand and reduce the marketing expenses, on the other. These are the major benefits of this approach. According to this article, in-game advertising and product placement will eventually become an inseparable part of marketing strategies, used by advertisers.
Nonetheless, this hypothesis has several limitations. As it has been said in the article, product placement in video games or reality shows can increase brand familiarity but it does not always change a person’s attitude toward a particular type of product or a brand. Hence, a company has to adapt their advertising strategies to the social, linguistic, and cultural environment, if it wants to affect people’s attitudes. Secondly, one should not overlook the fact that many gamers, as well as viewers of reality shows, can dislike such practices; moreover, some of them can even display an aversion to the brand, if the advertisement is not congruent with the environment of the game. Apart from that, advertisers should take into consideration that people from different countries or cultures may not perceive the same video game or television show in similar ways. Some of them may dislike it and as a result, a negative association can be formed between the game and the brand. In this case, product placement will bring contrary results that are not expected by the management of a company or advertising agency. Hence, the advertisers as well producers need to carefully weigh the advantages and disadvantages of this approach. Standardization of marketing messages is not always the most suitable for a company, even despite its cost-effectiveness. Overall, this question requires an in-depth examination by sociologists, psychologists, and market researchers.
Still, the information presented in this case study can be of great use to international corporations. Currently, these companies spent billions of dollars to gain the trust of customers from all over the world. In-games advertising and product placement in reality shows are those approaches that can help them minimize the marketing expenses. Several corporations have already used these opportunities, for instance, MacDonald’s, Starbucks, or Pepsi. To some extent, this fact indicates that these communication methods should not be overlooked by other companies.
Questions for the case
- The reality shows, which I have watched, tend to combine product placement with in-your-face advertising. For example, in one of the shows, namely The Celebrity Apprentice such brand as Kodak was featured more than 10 times, yet neither the host nor the contestants directly referred to it during the show. Furthermore, I can mention some other brands that advertised in this reality show using product placement, for example, Apple, Kelvin Klein, or Coca-Cola. It should be noted that in some cases, this product placement becomes far too obvious and it closely resembles in-your-face advertising. Another reality show, which I watched, was the Challenge. The makers of this show also rely on product placements. Some of the brands that I managed to identify were Pella Windows, Ford, and Sears. Nonetheless, an in-your-face strategy was also present, particularly, when the host named the sponsors of the shows. Overall, judging from these shows, I can argue that product placement is becoming more and more popular among advertisers, who intend to merge commercials into the structure of reality shows and films.
- The representatives of the advertising industry react differently to these new trends. Many traditional advertising agencies do not actively support the use of these communication methods because it takes a substantial amount of time to develop a video game and advertisers do not always know whether this game will enjoy demand among their target audience. Secondly, they find it rather difficult to measure the effectiveness of such commercials because they cannot estimate the number of people, who have seen the brand and paid attention to it. Despite this criticism, many advertising companies serve these advertising niches. Among them, we can single out such agencies as Engage, which focuses primarily on in-game advertising, Ogilvy & Mather, Starcom Media Vest Group, Madison Road Entertainment. These companies try to explore new opportunities, which have emerged due to the increasing popularity of reality shows and fast technological advances. Overall, the preference can be given to Ogilvy & Mather because this company has experience both in traditional advertising and in-game advertising. More importantly, Ogilvy & Mather is equally efficient in product placement and in-your-face strategies. These are the reasons why one can choose it.
- In-game video advertising has recently become more popular among different companies. It is difficult to single out the type of products that are promoted, since they may depend upon the specific game. For example, such video game as Need for Speed promotes the products of several car manufacturers such as Audi, Ford, Lamborghini, Mazda, Toyota, etc. Yet, this approach to product placement can be explained by the peculiarities of the game. In the majority of cases, the most featured products are food (McDonald’s), drinks (Coca-Cola, Nestle, and Pepsi, Starbucks), clothing (Nike, Puma). As a rule, the developers of these games rely on product placement; however, very often the gamer becomes aware of advertisement. By adopting this approach, the advertisers can target a very wide demographic group. These are males, whose age ranges from 14 to 30 since these people are most likely to play these video games. The purchasing power of these people is relatively strong and they can afford the products that we have mentioned. One can hardly determine the exact size of this population since these advertisements are aimed at people from a great number of countries. In this case, product placement is aimed at increasing brand familiarity.
- Communication methods. Different manufactures can benefit by using these new methods of communication. For instance, one can speak about cosmetics and perfumery. These products can be advertised through reality shows and by adopting such a strategy companies will be able to target the female audience of these shows. The thing is that very often people attempt to emulate popular icons whom they see on television and the manufacturers of cosmetics have appealed to female customers in this way but normally they do through in-your-face commercials. However, the same principle can be applied to reality shows, for example, the Celebrity Apprentice. The only difference is that such advertising will be less obtrusive. Such brands as Oriflamme, Max Factor can make their commercials less intrusive. Those enterprises, which target the male audience, can also find these new methods very useful. Such a company as Gillette that produces safety razors can place its brand in different video-games which are popular among people aged 15 and above. Many of them are potential users of Gillette’s products. At given, these corporations advertisers its products through television commercials and frequently attracts celebrities, especially famous football players. This strategy can be effective but it is very expensive as well. Gillette can succeed, if potential customers will associate their brands with a specific character who appeals to them. Hence, they need to determine what kind of video game should be used for product placement.