Marketing Toyota on Second Life

From the Economist:
“Toyota is the first carmaker to enter Second Life. It has been giving away free virtual vehicles of its Scion brand and, in October, will start selling all three Scion models. The price will be modest, says Adrian Si, the marketing manager at Toyota behind the project. Toyota really hopes that an “aftermarket” develops as avatars customise their cars and sell them on, thus spreading the brand “virally”. Toyota will be able to observe how avatars use the cars and might, conceivably, even get ideas for engineering modifications in the real world, he says.
“Those Scion cars have “great driving performance for in-world physics,” says Reuben Steiger, the boss of Millions of Us, a company he founded this year to bring companies like Toyota into Second Life for marketing and brand-building. “How it corners and makes sounds when it changes gears is great.” So Toyota, which is a client of his, along with Sun Microsystems and even Mr Warner, shows that Second Life is “perfect for creating experiences around a brand,” says Mr Steiger. “We don’t think that conventional advertising will be very prevalent,” he says, because it would “be badly received culturally”. Advertising in Second Life is not about “trapping people” but about captivating and stimulating them. A good campaign in Second Life costs about $200,000 dollars, he reckons, of which only a tiny part is property leases and most goes to paying the talented designers to create great virtual stuff.”
MMORPGs meets Web 2.0.
Who has time for reality? For global warming? For politics and corruption? For war-profiteering? See what I mean?
This is a form of double loop marketing all right, but I don’t like it.

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