I’m a bit late to read this post, but author Alan Moore of “Communities Dominate Brands” makes an observation in early 2007 in his post entitled “Gaming the New Marketing?“.
His point is that games represent a new way to communicate with an audience, in an immersive, engaging way. He dismisses “branded entertainment” and “product placement”, which I agree, are indirect at best. Then he states “where the content is the advertising and the advertising is the content”.
This is exactly the point of product simulation advertising or marketing, namely making the advertisement the content and the content the advertising (or vice versa). I agree with his point that games are an important new form of marketing to the gaming demographic, but I would argue that a more direct interactive simulation, focused on competitive features of the product solving real-world problems, is a more compelling incentive — after all, the advertiser wants the viewer to see how the product solves the viewer’s problems, not just walk away with a good feeling about the product (a nice side effect, of course).
In other words, games are a good manifestation of interesting interaction (to the viewer), but not the most direct. The most direct would be interaction with the product itself. So have I just invented a “degree of closeness” measure, namely, that games are typically second or higher degrees of closeness compared with direct product experience (being 0 degrees, and 1 degree being some type of product simulation)? Of course games can have direct product experiences, or authentic product experiences, but games that don’t wholly focus on the product experience would earn farther degrees of separation.
I would say that Alan’s use of the word “game” may be fairly general, judging from his other comments in the post, but I think adding the word “gaming” unnecessarily shifts the perspective away from the core that the content is the advertising and the advertising is the content.