Marketing Inside a Virtual World

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Wells Fargo launches game inside 'Second Life'
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Now this is where marketing and technology meet in a really exciting way, in a virtual world. Well Fargo bank have set up a game within an existing virtual world, Second Life.

In an innovative marketing effort that may be the first of its kind, Wells Fargo Bank has launched a pilot of an online multiplayer video game intended to help young people learn financial responsibility. What makes the initiative noteworthy, however, is that it is built inside an entirely separate virtual world.

They're pushing an educational message about money management by creating a set of Islands within Second Life where players can skydive, fly hovercrafts and do all sorts of other fun stuff. The Islands are exclusively invite only at this stage, available to players in San Diego and Austin, but are expected to open up to the masses at some point in the near future.

Stagecoach Island players are given $30 in imaginary money with which to buy clothes, pay for rides and the like. The idea, though, is to teach the players to save money--they earn 10 percent per day on "deposits"--and to learn new things about money management through a series of quizzes that, when completed, reward players with $5 of new funds.

Isn't that cool?

thanks for the tip Dan!



It's good to see companies step away from the usual corporate mindset of brand protection, mass media advertising, etc (like Lego's response to community mods of it's design software).

But it could be a pretty precarious move - online game communities are notoriously turbulent, particularly those targeting a younger audience (heh, even the 40 year olds act like damn kids in some MMO's).

I remember messing around Adobe Atmosphere a few years ago - it was an interesting concept, shame it didn't take off a bit more. It would be interesting to see where large companies would go with online environments like this - it could take loyalty memberships to a whole new level:

- Users could spend loyalty card points on virtual items (very good for the company due to low cost involved, and encourages repeat visits to the community).

- Staff could chat in the community - extremely valuable for research.

- Much easier to monitor habits, patterns or test run new ideas / products.

- Virtual customer service / support? MMO's have volunteer guides, why not businesses? There are always people willing to give their time to help out a bit (and a rewards system isn't too hard to implement).

Lot's of possibilities.


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