In the first month of 2013, Apple reported over 40 billion downloads for previous year (1). They have reported over $10 billion in revenue for 2013 (2). As for Google, it has been reported as of May 2013 the search giant reached 48 billion downloads (3).
**What do all these numbers really mean?
When the Apple and Google Play stores first opened they became extremely popular to mobile users. Experts, in spite of their immediate growth, expected that they would never grow to a practical market and dismissed them as a fad.
However, the numbers above show a very different and startling picture of success. With billions of downloads, and billions of dollars in revenue, mobile games and apps have become more than a fad but a real, viable business.
Branding is hard.
Getting a brand out there and recognized as a household name is difficult. In an over-saturated world, billboards and magazine ads are just eye-noise. Just things that sit around, rarely seen. How do you even track if they’re successful in your ROI?
BUT – what if the brand could be placed in the hands of a captive audience? What if someone wanted to look at the brand/logo/message for hours on end? What would that be worth to the brand?
Get your head in the game.
Branded games are not a new idea. In the 1980s, when games started to become prevalent, companies saw the value in displaying their names and logos in prominent places.
The 1983 game, Tapper, featured a bar-like scene. In the original version, the Budweiser logo was shown behind the bar tender. The home version showed up with the Mountain Dew logo.
Konami’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Arcade Game featured a slew of Pizza Hut logos as well as coupons in the game box.
Even though this isn’t a new approach, this isn’t an antiquated practice either.
Ohio-based game company Few Remain’s created the side-scrolling game, Herd of Heroes, for the company Smith’s Dairy to promote health. The Smith’s Dairy logo was displayed prominently throughout the game, supporting the company’s brand.
What else can be done?
Colleges also have a unique and difficult position. The constant barrage of advertisements recruiters send to future students get can be staggering. What if, however, a college has a game (mobile, desktop, in-browser) that the student can play which shows them the college campus, offices, and history of the school in an interactive and enjoyable way? Explore in a first person perspective, collect clues, and unlock the secrets of the university? Perhaps rescue professors from some alien entity?
What about a side-scrolling game where a player has to find items related to the school to unlock more levels?
All the while creating a message and building excitement around the college.
What about branding your company around re-playable and casual games? A simple fruit-slashing style game can be easily used to show items related to your company. People can download, get high scores, post them to the social media outlets and be brand ambassadors for your company.
Even games that don’t completely envelope your brand itself can be used to promote your company. Looking at Konomi’s TMNT game, Pizza Hut’s logo was used on billboards in the environments. There was no flying pizzas to fight. Pizza Hut was part of the game, but not a central focus. However, over 20 years later the fact the logo was there is still embedded in the minds of gamers everywhere.
The game is on!
With billions of downloads, the mobile game industry itself is a huge market playground. Getting your brand in an interactive game that engages a user for hours on end is a fantastic way to showcase your company’s brand and engage a future die-hard customer in ways untapped.