It's All About the Avatars

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Jesse Shannon is writing a series for that examines the value of virtual marketing to virtual characters called avatars.

Part 1 reminds us how online projections of a consumer can carry weight in the real world: "If an avatar in a virtual world is given the tools to adorn their online projections with brands and marketing messages, whole new levels of reach and personalization become available. A fan can not only put on a virtual Snakes on a Plane t-shirt or hat, they can go so far as to have snakes writhing around their avatars, video clips playing at their avatar's personal dwelling, or even speak in the inimitable voice of Samuel L. Jackson and his already classic R-rated line that has spawned an army of devoted fans already."

Part 2looks further into the brilliance that was Scion's entry into the virtual tween mecca Whyville and how marketing cars to kids became the ultimate way to measure consumer engagement. "[D]uring the first week of its rollout," writes Shannon, "the Whyville team was able to count the number of times the word 'Scion' had been typed in a chat window by a member of the community. In one week, the number of utterances of the word Scion went from 0 to 78,000! In practically an instant, Scion became an integral part of the Whyville cultural lexicon. Under the best of conditions, a banner or commercial placed in the world could never hope to have such a dramatic effect."

We have a feeling "avatar" is about to be promoted from the name of a villian on WB's "Charmed" to standard marketing lexicon.
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