Electronic Arts (ERTS) announced this morning it had entered into an extensive advertising and promotional campaign with tween retailer Claire’s in EA’s CHARM GIRLS CLUB game series. Included in the deal is the typical in-game branding many games offer advertisers like banners and product placement. However, this deal appears to take in-game product placement to a new level.
Claire’s will have its own store in the mall where the game takes place. In addition, players can enter into challenges and competitions (“mini-games”) inside the Claire’s store, and buy Claire’s branded charms on store shelves. EA will also promote Claire’s on the video game’s Web site.
Product placement is not new to video games. Gamers have driven branded cars, used branded mobile phones, and even bought virtual McDonald’s burgers. Still, we haven’t seen many examples of such prevalent product placement in video games as this one with Claire’s.
In-game deals like this won’t make up for the ad industry’s tough 2009, but it’ll be welcomed news if companies like EA can someday find meaningful revenue streams beyond games’ price tags to consumers.
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