Thursday, July 9, 2009

Video Games and Advertising: The Doritos Effect

You may or may not know this but I consider myself a fan of advertising and marketing. I want to share that interest with you every so often by letting you in on what goes on in my head when I approach in-game advertising, advergames and just standard advertising fodder on websites and in magazines.

Today I wanted to talk about 'The Doritos Effect'.

If you are a gamer in this day and age chances are you have run into some sort of Doritos advertising in your games, game videos, print ads, etc. The Doritos advertisements have been so numerous as of late that I has had me thinking that the guys and gals over at Frito Lay might be trying to make Doritos the official chip of gamers. Personally I am all for this seeing as I love Doritos but for some it may be possible that these advertisements can be seen as insulting? Can this be seen as a stereotype that all gamers prefer fatty, cheesy snacks or are in fact fat already and that because of these ads they will not be able to restrain themselves and will be coerced into buying just one more bag of Doritos. Okay, so maybe I am taking this a little far but I digress that we are talking about people on the internet here.

A form of Doritos advertising has been sprouting up everywhere in the realm of video games. In a progression from normal to full blown advertising extravaganza these are the particular ones that I have noticed:

  1. Advertising before Inside Xbox videos on Xbox LIVE (the standard for web video, etc.)
  2. Advertising in Ghostbusters: The Video Game (becoming the standard for racing games, etc.)
  3. The advergame Dash of Destruction, available FREE on the Xbox LIVE Marketplace (perhaps a still untapped realm of advertising that most companies do not care to invest in (ie too pricey))
The advertisements before the Inside Xbox videos are accepted as normal and probably would never have phased you if I had never mentioned them. The average web video is synonomous with advertising and the average person who surfs the internet is probably fairly good at tuning the ads out.

The advertising in Ghostbusters was clever but was only placed (that I noticed) in the first two levels. In the hotel level there were 1991 style Doritos vending machines and what I mean by 1991 style is that is how the bags were designed back then. There was also a crashed Doritos truck at the very beginning of the Times Square level (I felt that if I shot it Doritos should come pouring out; Doritos did not in fact pour out).

Lastly you have the Ninja Bee designed Dash of Destruction Doritos advergame that was quite charming in the way that it told you that its reason for existing was to give you easy Gamerscore. I am proud to say that I own all 200 points for that 20 minutes worth of Nacho Cheesy (see what I did there) gameplay.

In the end what I am trying to say is that Doritos have their act together when it comes to advertising and none of it has ruined my gaming experiences. I am always interested in the world of advertising and if I had never been aware of Doritos in my life before (how would that even be possible; what kind of rock would that be?) I would most certainly be aware now.

Dangerously cheesy (whoops, wrong product).

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