If you’re in the advertising industry, then you’ve probably used the phrase “brand engagement” at least once in the last half-hour. Getting the customer to engage and spend time with a brand in a meaningful way is the golden standard of digital advertising. While advertising spending on online games and mobile apps increases exponentially and in-app advertising and sponsorship becomes commonplace, the question remains: Is this engagement meaningful?
Floating banners within games or sponsored links within apps often go unnoticed. It’s because the advertisements or messages aren’t truly integrated into the game. The user is engaging with the game, but not the brand. It is therefore up to the advertising industry to take heed from Marshall Mcluhan and make the medium the message.
That’s where apps like Draw Something come into the picture (no pun intended). The Pictionary-like app developed by OMGPOP offers advertisers the potential to integrate branding into the user experience itself. While the game is still in its early stages and is an ad-free platform, it has already started to percolate in creative marketing minds.
During the week of the official release of Hunger Games, users of Draw Something noticed the introduction of characters and scenes to the game (Mashable, 2012). This form of “Drawing Integration” is not public but could become an important part of brand integration and advertising strategy. Already many sites such as Mashable are featuring the top drawings, and Apple rewards users with in-app currency for their interpretations of their products and artists (360i Digital Connections, 2012). It’s only a matter of time before other brands realize that they can have engaging and creative conversations with their consumers through this new tool.
Another example of this app’s marketing prowess comes from the Amsterdam advertising agency Muse, which is using Draw Something to recruit their new batch of interns. They believe that the app lets them see if someone can communicate a message clearly and simply through creative expression. Here’s the clip they used to explain their gutsy new recruitment process.
Even though the app doesn’t offer any direct advertising opportunities, its simple yet engaging design is inspiring new advertising campaigns. For instance, VW Beetle has just launched a site for its Norwegian market that invites users to test their drawing skills and make their very own Beetle stories. Try it now.
This campaign is not only a nod at the popularity of the game, which now has 20 million active users and ranks no #1 in 87 countries (360i Digital Connections, 2012), but it is also a sign that Draw Something might soon become a big part of mobile and social media advertising.
Nandini Trivedi is a Copywriter with a Masters in Advertising from Boston University (2012). She believes that great creative comes from solid research, good old hard work, and a little bit of mischief. Find her online here.