I received an email Monday from Paul Hemp, Senior Editor at the Harvard Business Review pointing me to an article on the HBR website: “Avatar-Based Marketing” (Link).
It’s a nice overview. The big thing I noticed, however, was the idea that avatars are anonymous. That may be largely true now, but I’ve mentioned previously that afaic anonymity is a myth, and the New Yorker cartoon (you know the one) represents a bygone era. The majority may still think they’re anons, but that will change. When it does, the dynamics of marketing inside virtual worlds will change as well. I suppose the first thing that will happen is that the number of people who rip off brands or engage in griefing will decline. This alone would make online environments less risky for real world companies. After that, there’s no telling how marketing and advertisers will use virtual spaces to promote their products. One thing for sure though, they’ll have to be more creative than what I typically see coming out of Madison Avenue.
By the way, there’s a Q&A over on Ad Age (Link) about this article. Might want to check that too.