Thursday, October 31, 2013

And Now: A Confusing Word from Our Sponsors

Image from PopMatters
Don Draper would be proud of this week's PopMatters column: it's about ads.

More specifically, it's about how this season's video game ads don't make much sense to me. I expected to be buried in commercials for the new systems. It's been eight years since a new Xbox, but people have more options now: free to play games, social games, the explosion of the mobile scene. If there was ever a time to get people whipped into a buying frenzy, this is it.

Maybe it's good I'm not in marketing, because the game ads I've been seeing are a suprise to me. Drake songs accompanying 18th century period pieces, commercials for the Xbox 360 (what?!), and Call of Duty spots without any Call of Duty footage suggests that publishers' goals are more complicated than simply blanketing a general populace. To put in Call of Duty terms: instead of firing a shotgun blast at everyone, they are sniping at precise cross sections of players.

On a side note, writing this column made me realize just how far I've strayed from traditional broadcast television. If it weren't for football, almost all my media would be streaming. Because of this, I never really get to see ads alongside the media they subsidize. Seeing a trailer on YouTube or scrolling through a promoted tweet doesn't make as strong a connection between different types of media. Why is the Xbox 360 shown to people watching Parks and Rec while Assassin's Creed 4 is targeted at NFL fans? Aside from the NFL's obvious love of swashbucklers (although I've never seen the Buccaneers or Raiders equipped with wrist blades).

None of these commercials really inspire me to buy what they're showing (largely because they aren't showing much of anything). However, I'm pretty comfortable with being out of touch and just observing the spectacle. I can't wait for the next year's inevitable Miley Cyrus Titanfall trailer.

No comments:

Post a Comment