What AR and Gaming Will Do to the Marketing Industry

Augmented reality - heads up display concept

Image via Wikipedia

Thankfully, The Charlotte Agency‘s Creative Director John Dermott is a huge fan of video games. I’m a fan of studying and creating strategy based on consumer behavior. This is one of those times when the harmony seems just too good to be true.

Augmented Reality and gaming are about to rock the socks off the marketing industry. Seriously. The shear scale of rock sock-offage is staggering. And we are pumped to be a part it. First, a few definitions.

Augmented Reality (AR) is defined as “a live direct or indirect view of a physical real-world environment whose elements are augmented by virtual computer-generated sensory input such as sound or graphics.” It is related to the term mediated reality, which occurs when reality (as we know it) is distorted or even replaced, by technological enhancement.

Gaming, as I will define it, means when people are engaged in situations where tangible and non-tangibles incentives can be sought after, competed for, and awarded. It can also include several social networks. So in this definition, I include HALO, Second Life, Farmville, and World of Warcraft and Call of Duty, X-Box Kinect all under the same category.

Forgive the definition gaming purists. I’m not going to even try to pretend I’m one of you.

Here are reasons why AR and Gaming will be huge:

1. Mobile Phone Technology:
With Droids, IPhones, BlackBerries running rampant in our society, we are becoming more and more connected to technology. And with society’s bloodthirst for instant-gratification, brands that engage in AR will be “first” and stick in many consumers’ consideration sets.

2. Tablets:
The iPad, along with Samsung’s Tab and Lenovo’s tablet (I don’t remember the name) will change how we look at and use laptops.  From the gaming perspective, it will be easier for users to play games on it, and interact with many other users. Plus, these users won’t have to be at home. So with the added bonus-mobility- brands that are in games (or games that include specific environments) would benefit.

3.Consumer Trends:
With #1 and #2 combined, it is clear to see how much people enjoy distorted reality. It’s no longer cool to enjoy a night of chess with a few people. It has to be in an online room, with 10,000 people. There is an interesting movement of people wanting to be connected, yet stay local. Hence why GroupOn, Yelp, and the like have seemingly appeared out of nowhere. That’s why Location-based Services (LBS) have gone “mainstream” with the media-savvy.

What Industries Can Benefit?

Although we think AR and gaming will be huge, there may be a diminishing utility element of it. Meaning only SO many brands in certain games and industries will benefit marginally before everyone else gets involved and benefits level out. Here are a few that I think can rock this trend:

-Food and Beverage (obviously)
-Auto (See: Call of Duty Jeep)
-Real Estate
-Musuems and Exhibit Halls
-NASA (See: Stellarium app on Droid..sweet!)
-Pro Sport Events

There are plenty of ways that brands can incorporate games into their own processes (see: Stash Games. No affiliation with them, but we like what they’re doing).

Pick up your brand, come on over and play with us.


What I Want the Marketing Industry to Do

If you are amongst the small crowd of consistent readers, you may know my distaste for much of the professional organizations for the marketing industry. In this post, I aim to give my oh-so-naive vision for the marketing industry, instead of always complaining. Don’t say I never tried.

1. A National Advertising and Marketing Council.
One word: Consolidation. What I like about communications professionals is that many see the need for industry folks to rub shoulders and talk about the good and bad about the industry. But what is interesting to me, is that to reach all the communicators, one has to be a part of  7 different organizations. For some crazy reason, I feel like being a part of the AMA, IABC, PRSA, BMA, AAF, 4As, ANA, just to talk to 20 people who actually care sounds like nonsense. How can engineers, medical professionals, lawyers, and even accountants, have a single advisory board about their fields, and we ego-loving, loud, wordsmiths can’t seem to pull it together? We talk about message consistency, branding and image control. Why can’t we all get along, and do it for ourselves?

Okay, for the old people who might actually stumble on to this, don’t have a heart attack. I have a way to keep all the egos in check. The organization can be three pronged: Agency-Side, Client-Side, and Academic. If needed, each prong will have a set of officers and the ability to create committees as they see fit. I will give “Big Ups” to the AMA, because I like how it does the Special Interest Groups (research, healthcare, strategy, etc.) so that should stay. And I like how PRSA has the Young Professionals network, so that outline should be copied as well.

And yes, there will be a separate board for awards. But sorry, Association of Communications and Marketing Professionals, you will be no more.

But think of how awesome that organization would be! All communicators, under one roof. That’s a beautiful thing.

2. End of Out-dated Benchmarks
The academic arena has really done a wonderful job catching up to the industry. There are now numerous prestigious degrees for marketing, advertising and public relations. People can now receive PhDs. in communications.

So accreditation programs like the IABC and the maligned APR exam that PRSA “uses” can be permanently deleted.

3. Celebrate Advertising and Marketing Communications
Celebrations are intentional. They show an appreciation for what has been accomplished, and bring attention. New York’s Advertising Week has done a great job doing that for the Ad folks who can make it.

But let’s take it up a notch. Like Mashable’s “Social Media Day”, having a “MarCom Madness Weekend” across the nation would be cool. And unlike SMD, MarCom madness can take the outline of Advertising Week and talk about real issues, like:

-Recruiting male and minority talent
-Code of Ethics and what “transparency” really means
-Retaining quality and creative talent
-Grooming the next young leaders of the industry

And how will we know all this is done? Cities will be strongly encouraged to document, record these conversations, questions, and best practices and post them on a database created for this purpose.

3. Be an Advocate for the Industry
I am not naive enough to believe that the previous two items are going to happen. I wish I was, but the powers-that-be are so outdated, and so comfortable, that real change isn’t going to happen until those people no longer have their invisible veto authority.

But please, be an advocate for the industry. If you don’t like what you’re doing, please leave, or find something else to do. Marketing and advertising is so much fun, and in a monopolistic economy, where differentiation is the deciding factor for businesses surviving or dying, it is very important.

The lovers of communications and the modern day town criers can no longer afford to be silent.



Obama’s Meeting with the Top Dems and GOPs

Surprise surprise, guess who a transcript of Obama’s meeting with Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, John Boehner, and Mitch McConnell?

Well I didn’t. But below is what I hope happened behind closed doors. This is just President Obama talking.

Enter Oval Office:


Okay, thank you everyone for coming. Take a seat. Not you, Congressman Boehner, you can stand. I’d tell ol’ Mitch too, but I respect the elderly.

I appreciate the laugh Nancy, but please, let’s not over do it.

So, we did a terrible job telling the public how much we did. We’re making history folks. We did almost as much as FDR’s first administration.

I can feel you rolling your eyes Boehner. Don’t make me…


Anyway, Mitch and John, are you ready to take this on? Let’s make a deal. Let me cut defense spending and let the Bush Tax cuts expire, and I’ll fly down to Hawaii with you so you can see my birth certificate.

Haha, just kidding.

For heavens sake, Nancy, wake Harry up please? It’s 2p.m. Good afternoon Harry, thanks for joining us.

This is serious; the American people are tired of the stupid-talk in the House and Senate. We need to start getting things done, and move forward.

Mitch, say “Obamacare” one more time. Please. That’s not annoying at all.

See, that’s the kind of nonsense I’m talking about. Healthcare reform has been desired since Theodore Roosevelt, and he was a republican!

Here’s what I want to do. Cut government spending. Infuse cash into the middle class and small businesses. Open more trade channels with Cuba.  Give the EPA more authority over environmental issues, and have them explore the pros and cons of geo-engineering.  As for Washington politics, what the hell is going on in the Senate? Harry, get your house in order. I want to you suspend the rules, and take out the rule where a single senator can stop anything.

Boehner, didn’t I tell you to stand? If you get your tan on my couch I’m going to be pissed. Thanks. Actually John and Mitch, you two can leave. Congrats on the win. Anyone can make a lay-up.

Nancy, Harry, I have a question. Since I am President, is there any way I can make Boehner…you know…?

Oh don’t look so shocked Nancy, I’m sure W thought the same thing. Seriously, Nancy, stop looking at me like that. You’re freaking me out.

Well our trick worked. We lost the House but kept the Senate. Well done.  Let’s see if this works. Harry, there are beers in the fridge. Grab three. Business is over.



Is Perception Our Reality?

If I were to say that the United States was the freest country in the world, the best economy in the world and that the world is full of democracies, you would believe me, right?

And if I told you that the Obama Administration got nothing done in the past 18 months, you would almost accept that as fact, right?

The national media and politicians have been harping the fact that perception is our reality. But is that true? That is a complicated question, with an even more complicated answer.

Based on the links above, one cannot say that the United States is the best economy in the world, and be supported with facts. Also, if one was to say that Obama has done nothing, that person is only showcasing their limited view and understanding of governance.

But those opinions are popular. And due to the popularity, the Democrats suffered a defeat that, with better preparation, could have been avoided.

The Deal with Perception

On one end, perception is our society’s reality. People trust what other people trust, and will repeat certain thoughts and opinions once it has gone through a vetting process the communications world likes to call “social proofing.” If 10 people believe it, and each of their 10 friends believe it, then it must be true.

The problem I have with perception, is the matter of perspective. Since there can be multiple perspectives, and those perspectives can birth different perceptions, then which is the right one? Because unfortunately, sometimes the perspective with the most votes won’t necessarily have the most facts. And that is a dangerous situation to be in.

Reality Bites

As communications professionals, we must keep a pulse on perception as well as reality. Because if we look at the facts stated above, the United States is the 8th best economy in the world (and declining), and the 24th freest (in the press) in the world. The majority of the world are not democracies. Also, Obama has done more programs, broken more barriers, then most presidents in modern history. That is not perception, that is fact. Ask the common 8th grade literate American however, and they will have a different narrative.

Why is that the case? I’m not sure. The incentive of knowing reality- knowledge- I would think should trump ignorance. However, if that knowledge erases what the ignorance gives them -happiness- I can see why actually knowing facts is unappealing.

Any thoughts on this?