Yahoo’s Chrysler Brand Avatars

I noticed something odd a couple days ago when I logged into Yahoo Email: the addition of “Yahoo Avatars” to my profile {Note: I don’t have Yahoo Messenger, which has had avatars for some time}. Okay. So I figured I’d see what this was about and clicked on the mysteriously grey silhouette that prompted my curiousity (I’ll avoid joking about how I initially thought it might be Big Brother scanning my email). That led to a “create your avatar” page which doesn’t seem to work (since the “Save” isn’t working I’m wondering if I’m supposed to pay someone to let me change my default appearance; or maybe it’s Firefox…). But what really caught my attention was the branding. Heck, there’s even a separate tab all on its own called – what else? – “Branded” stuck up there with “Appearance“, “Apparel” and “My Favorites“. And what brand is being hyped right off the bat? None other than Chrysler Jeep. I guess they weren’t kidding. Good for them.

Now if they can just get the darn thing working. This clean-cut look irritates the hell out of me.

{Update: Holy Crap. As I prepared to log out, I just noticed Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. gear! Just what I wanted! Keep your Shanghai Tang pleated leather and give me a t-shirt with a faux ketchup stain. That’s class. Just how I want to represent myself on the net.}

2 thoughts on “Yahoo’s Chrysler Brand Avatars

  1. Interesting discovery, csven. IMVU (a 3D chatspace) is offering to create branded avatars for coporate clients, and Linden Lab isn’t ruling out this sort of thing either. It’s one thing to see a non-interactive “advertar” (as I call it), but once you put a human behind it, the dynamic is bound to change completely. Lots of opportunity for better and worse, no doubt.

  2. Exactly.

    I dimly recall Yahoo starting up their avatar system, but not being an instant messenger user (of any variety) I didn’t know of their branding effort. I spoke with someone in SL yesterday who has had a YIM avatar for some time and had previously noticed the Jeep brand tied to it, so that’s apparently not new. They also knew that there was another brand, but didn’t know which (that may or may not have been Hardee’s/Carl’s Jr).

    This push to email and blogs and other online media (since the Yahoo avatar is now free to roam on their hosted services it appears) seems like a play against IMVU and maybe CyWorld and Habbo. I noticed a week or two ago that Yahoo has been launching quite a few “beta” products. “Hosted service, meet avatar; avatar meet brand; brand, meet hosted service.” I’ve been wondering why LL doesn’t build a system with SL at the core; everything from hosted e-commerce to blogs. My3DSpace. Given their comments on branded avatars, I have a feeling someone at LL has been thinking along those lines.

    Which makes me wonder: if all these internet services are creating avatar-interaction capabilities and linking services, why wouldn’t a Yahoo or Google (or an eBay) buy Second Life or There? The “dog” days are coming to an end… by choice.

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