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The English Intelligence Service Recruiting Spies through Splinter Cell

In-game advertising really seems to be gaining some traction at the moment, and British Government intelligence organization, GCHQ, have taken the step of buying in game billboards to try and attract computer savvy graduates to consider becoming spies.

While the move isn’t quite as bold and the US military’s ‘America’s Army’ where a whole game and community has been developed to aid recruitment, it definitely shows more companies & organizations exploring the possibilities of in-game advertising.

GCHQ are using advertisement mimicking real world billboards within Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Double Agent on x-Box Live and across a number of other games including Rainbow Six: Vegas, Need for Speed Carbon & Enemy Territory: Quake Wars.

Evian Water Debuts in Second Life

Evian Natural Spring Water’s marketing slogan is “The most important body of water is your own.” They are helping people improve their bodies – in the virtual world Second Life. Avatars just need to head to Evian vending machines and they can get a new skin.

Avatars come with standard bodies but you can buy another version to suit yourself. Evian says the skins they offer will not just be new but they will be more vibrant and have better texture (I’ve never noticed that level of detail but from the picture below the skin does look very smooth.)

When you buy water, there will be a pop-up with the offer. Choose a skin and you’re avatar will be transformed.

What Top Brands Spend on Advertising

Want to know what top companies like Microsoft, Google, and even Coca-Cola spend on advertising? Here’s a breakdown by percent of revenues in 2006, starting with the most first (according to this article):

  1. Microsoft – more than 20 percent of their annual revenue or $11.5 billion
  2. Coca-Cola – more than $2.5 billion
  3. Yahoo – more than 20 percent of their annual revenue or $1.3 billion
  4. eBay – 14 percent to 15 percent of its revenue – which was $871 million, much of that to advertise on Google
  5. Google – In the millions rather than billions of dollars – with $188 million
  6. Starbucks – $95 million

How Google Markets Products On the Cheap

“The best way to succeed is to have a really great product” – Seth Godin

Google lives by the philosophy that products lead marketing. Just like you know you’ve hit it big when other people create and maintain your MySpace page for you, you also know it when your customers do your marketing for you. It’s ironic that a company that provides advertising and marketing services for businesses doesn’t actually spend much time advertising their business.

According to an article in ReportonBusiness, they’ve sold more than $30-billion in advertising since 2001. But it wasn’t with expensive advertising. In fact if you don’t live in a major city or in California you probably haven’t seen or heard any ads for Google at all – except for online. Instead, Google puts money into development and hiring talented employees. Other online companies have built similar empires with little advertising – they spread virally. YouTube, MySpace and Facebook all take this approach.

Yahoo Earning More Search Revenue

It’s no secret: Google dominates search advertising (PPC). We often say that for anyone to legitimately challenge their dominance, they’ll have to capture more of the search advertising market. (Of course, to do that, you usually have to catch more market share, which you usually do by advertising, which you usually do with the extra revenue. . . .)

And now it looks like Yahoo might have a chance. According to 500 marketers surveyed by SearchIgnite and RBC Capital Markets, search advertising was up 7% in Q3 this year—and most of that 7% went to Yahoo.

The researchers found third quarter spending on Yahoo’s percentage of media spend increased 7.8 percent over the prior quarter. SearchIgnite and RBC noted spending on Google for the same period increased only 0.8 percent. MSN’s share increased from 5.1 percent in Q2 to 5.8 percent in Q3, but suffered a total spending drop of 3.4 percent.

MoveOn Backs Down – Allows Trademark Bidding

I recently wrote on how MoveOn.org had ads by a Republican senator removed. The organization whose aim is to elect Democrats to office generated a lot of controversy for filing a complaint with Google. The ads, run by Senator Susan Collins, used the trademarked term MoveOn.org in the text. Google’s policy is to remove Google AdWords that use trademark terms in the copy, if the trademark owner complains.

Wired Magazine blogs that MoveOn.org decided to reverse their decision and let Collins run the ads. They say they want to promote free speech. According to Google’s Pablo Chavez of Google’s public policy counsel, the decision was not political. But conservative bloggers and an opinion piece in the San Francisco Examiner suggested otherwise.

Nike+ a Lesson in Social Community Marketing

image In my forthcoming book, I take a look at how Nike has increased sales by tapping into social community marketing initiatives. Instead of simply shoveling more TV and print ads down our throat, Nike is instead shifting its marketing budget to non-traditional channels.

The NYT has a great summary of Nike’s “Nike+” effort to engage runners and get them to connect and compete with each other. In conjunction with Apple’s iPod, runners can time their laps, download their progress, and keep track of how their friends are doing–all without forceful participation by Nike.

This use of social media is helping Nike to better allocate its marketing budget.