Monday, March 9, 2009

Build Your Own Space - How Two Marketers Get All 'Engagementy'.

I recently came across two promotions for Comcast and Allstate - both of which gave the user the opportunity to create their own digital space, sort of like the old school sims or slightly-newer school real time strategy games (like halo wars). Although the idea of sims may feel done to death, one of these programs is a clear winner and the other leaves you scratching your head, baffled you just wasted ten minutes.

Comcast allows users to create their own 'Comcastic' appartment in Comcast Town (that isn't language they used, but the can for a small fee). This is the microsite that supports a recent campaign they launched, supported with the following broadcast creative.

The user starts off building their apartment with a phone, internet and tv (the essentials of course), and then you can pimp out your pad with a couch, windows, area rugs and so much more. Once that is done, well, that's it. You can earn some bucks to buy more stuff but there is no real point. I can invite other friends, but I have no idea why I would do this. There is no competiton, there is no ongoing changes or interaction with Comcast town or community of people who've built rooms.

I don't even understand what Comcast is going to do with the information gather from me building my room. They could have at least had me select brands of preference (samsung tvs, ikea couches, etc) so that they could make use that for future promotional or partnership purposes. In my mind, this is a complete waste of time and scores a big fat zero as a marketing tactic (if anyone has other thoughts on what I'm missing - please enlighten me).

Allstate, has a similar program where you can build a playground. Very similar interface (although the Comcast one is more intuitive and works a bit better) but the objective is clear - it is a leveraging program against their cause marketing/sports strategy, leveraging the olympics to build affinity with the local Chicago community to build and olympic-inspired playground, inspired by kids themselves. Quite brilliant as it is a great goodwill effort, ties together both sports and cause marketing and is dead simple.

Clear definable objectives of the marketer translate into a much more cohesive experience for the user. Sometimes, the obvious integration with on offline campaign just doesn't work.

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