Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Getting Testimonies From The Enemies - A Different Way Of Marketing

Recently I have read an article on Mashable (EA Ad Goes Viral Thanks to Disgusted Moms). It is the new advertising strategy made by EA, one of the biggest video game producers, for the new coming out game called "Dead Space 2". Basically it is a horror shooting video game containing bloody and violent scenes. In general, this is a normal violent game that is nothing special. However, the way EA advertises Dead Space 2 is very innovative and unique, at least I have never seen such type of advertisement. 

Dead Space 2’s advertisement contains not only the action scenes from the game, but surprisingly it also includes the video recording of mothers’ reactions of viewing violent game scenes, which all the mothers seemed either scared or frustrated. As said in the article, the mothers in the videos are real. The mothers were told they were part of a focus group for an entertainment marketing project and given no further information. It soon became popular and was spread over Youtube. Since the reactions were so good, EA decided to make more similar interviews. They even builds an official tweet named “#yourmomhatesthis” to further spread the influence. This strategy is called buzz marketing, meaning that you do it harder if you have discovered good reactions to make bigger impact.

Why did this promotion work? Didn’t EA concern about mothers’ reactions after seeing such negative advertisement? Mothers are the source of money in which they are the ones who are really going to pay for the game. I think the game company believes that teens are the decision makers and they will find a way to get money anyways. Moreover, the audience is clearly considered by EA. A writer writes with a purpose to aim at the target audience. So does the game company. EA chose Internet as its main media rather than television or newspaper. By doing this, EA greatly reduces the chance mothers viewing their advertisement. Instead, they posted on Youtube and Tweeter and spread the information on several major game forums where their target consumers gather.

After launching to the right consumers, marketers use the persuasive skills to convince people to purchase their product. A common example is the positive testimonies showing in the dieting advertisements. However, what has been done creatively by EA to promote its game is that they use negative testimony cleverly to get positive feedbacks. Normally a negative testimony will hurt the sale when it is used by the competitor side, but it will boost the sale if the negative testimony is given by the natural enemy of the product. In our case, from teen player’s perspective, mothers are obviously the enemies of games. When teens see the offended and extreme reactions made by moms, it tempts their curiosity and desire to play the game. Therefore, as marketers we should consider what are the potential natural enemies of our products and see if there are any possible profits that we can extract from it.

If you like to watch more similar advertisements made by EA, go to the official Youtube channel of Dead Space 2.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Marketing Strategy Behind Best Buy's Buy Back Program

Best Buy recently comes with a new promotion called “buy back program”. It offers a guarantee that consumers can sell certain gadgets, such as laptops, tablets, smartphones, and televisions back to Best Buy within certain periods of time. However, this “future proof” service is not attached to the product. Consumers need to pay a set fee in order to have this service and the fee depends on the sale price of the product. Another interesting point is that Best Buy does not buy its products back with cash. All consumer payments are in the form of Best Buy gift cards.

This is a great marketing strategy played by Best Buy. I think there are at least three profitable points from this promotion. First, buying sold products back creates a second value for the company. Best Buy has its own retailing networks, which allows them to sell these used products. Second, they capture a new group of consumers who tend to sell used products online. As they sell products back to Best Buy, they gain gift cards which can only be used in store. These gift cards will transform into new spending and thus increase the sales. Third, the entry fee for the program itself is indeed a huge amount of profits already. According to the deadweight loss theory in economy, imposing entry fee on consumers decreases their surplus and it will be transferred into producer’s profits. As you can see, the above three facts are the reasons why Best Buy starts this new promotion. Ultimately, they all bring profits to the company.