NEW YORK — Dec. 3, 2008 — Massive Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Microsoft Corp. and a leading network for video game advertising, today is closing a momentous year with the first in-game advertising upfront event. Game publishers and advertisers will gather at the event to preview next year’s game content and lock down advertising opportunities for 2009. In addition, Massive announced today a multiyear, multititle partnership with Activision Inc. and formally introduced JJ Richards as the new head of Massive, adding to its long list of successes in 2008.
In the less than four years since Massive pioneered the in-game advertising market and served the first in-game ad, the company and the market have exploded. In 2008 alone, Massive’s number of customers grew by 76.6 percent. Additional noteworthy accomplishments include these:
Groundbreaking Ad Campaigns
In 2008, Massive supported several innovative ad campaigns demonstrating flexibility and creativity.
Presidential campaign. Barack Obama made history by running the first in-game ad campaign to promote a presidential candidate. His ads, which Massive ran in battleground states across 11 game titles, included the message “Early Voting Has Begun” along with a link to VoteForChange.com.
Text messaging ad campaign. Subway ran the first in-game text campaign, encouraging gamers to send text messages to receive cheat codes and hints for the games. The campaign was a huge success, garnering 67 percent ad recall, 19 percent lift in brand rating, and 20 percent increase in gamers who visited Subway after seeing the ads. The ad campaign also was received favorably by the gamers: 73 percent of gamers said the ads “looked cool in the game” and 86 percent said they “made the game more realistic.”
“Massive enables ‘just-in-time’ messaging that lets us be very specific about what messages we want to use and when, similar to what we are used to in the broadcast world,” said Tony Pace, senior vice president and chief marketing officer at Subway. “Prior to Massive, you would have to guess what message you would want in a game a year before it hit the marketplace.”
In-game scavenger hunt. Massive ran an in-game scavenger hunt in Ubisoft Entertainment’s “Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Vegas 2.” In this first-of-its-kind, dynamic in-game advertising promotion, gamers interacted with the ads as they followed the clues to get rewarded at the final stage of the hunt.
Destructible ads. In keeping with Massive’s mission to only place ads that fit within the context of a game, add to the experience and never detract from gameplay, the company served ads that gamers can actually destroy into “Mercenaries 2: World in Flames” from Electronic Arts Inc. (EA). Making the ads destructible enables the advertising to fit into the context of the game, allowing gamers to blow them up as they blow up other elements in the scene.
Wide-reaching campaigns. Ford Motor Co. ran a multititle ad campaign to raise awareness of several of its vehicles. The campaign generated big lifts (up to 28 percent) across several brand metrics and led to gamers searching for more information about Ford vehicles on the Ford Web site and at dealerships.
“Everyone knows that the auto industry has been critically impacted by the economic downturn, so right now it’s more important than ever to find cost-effective ways to connect with our audience,” said Brian Bos, senior vice president, convergence director at Mindshare, Team Detroit, agency of record for Ford. “Across many game titles, Massive has helped us reach gamers and influence their attitudes toward Ford vehicles and purchase behaviors.”
Leading Game Publishers Continue to Join the Massive Network
The world’s top game publishers are coming back for long-term contract extensions, pointing to the maturation of the industry.
Today, Massive and Activision announced a multiyear, multititle partnership covering 18 titles, including “Guitar Hero: World Tour,” “Quantum of Solace,” “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” and “Tony Hawk.”
In November, Massive and THQ Inc. announced a global, multiyear deal that names Massive as the exclusive dynamic in-game advertising partner for several highly popular franchises on the PC and the Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system, including “Saints Row® 2.”
In March, Massive also announced a multiyear, multititle partnership with EA (“Madden NFL” football, “NBA LIVE” basketball, “NASCAR®” racing, “NHL®” hockey, “Need For Speed™” and “Burnout™ Paradise”).
Proof That In-Game Advertising Works
As with any major form of media, Massive invests heavily in research on the effectiveness of its ad network. Across more than 65 research studies,* Massive has found that on average the following is demonstrated:
Those exposed to the in-game ads rated the brand 31 percent higher than those who were not exposed to the ads.
Twenty-three percent more gamers would consider the brand after seeing the in-game ads, while 21 percent more gamers would recommend the brand to others.
Sixty percent of gamers recall seeing ads for the brand in-game.
Gamers agree the in-game ads improve their game experience by adding realism and looking cool in the game — offering very little negative response.
Gamers also agree that the in-game ads stand out compared with other types of advertising.
In addition, Massive is very proud to welcome JJ Richards to Massive as he expands his role to lead Microsoft’s in-game advertising group, a key business within Microsoft Advertising. Richards was the general manager for Xbox LIVE for several years and currently is responsible for product management efforts for the digital ad platform that serves advertisers, publishers and ad networks. Richards’ tremendous depth of experience in the gaming industry, broad industry knowledge and leadership experience across Microsoft are vital assets to support the growth of in-game advertising in the coming years.
“What was met with skepticism and resistance just a few short years ago has now become a key part of a media mix and an essential way to reach a crucial demographic,” said Richards, general manager of platform services for the Advertiser and Publisher Solutions Group at Microsoft. “I have been closely involved with Massive for the past couple of years and have seen the amazing growth firsthand. I’m stepping into this role at a great time for Microsoft and the advertising and gaming industry, and look forward to working with our publishers to create in- and around-game advertising opportunities for any advertiser’s media plan.”
More information about the upfront event is available at http://www.massiveincorporated.com.
About Microsoft Advertising
Microsoft Advertising provides world-class advertising tools and solutions for digital advertisers and publishers to drive brand and consumer engagement. The portfolio includes all of Microsoft’s digital advertising businesses: its global media network that includes MSN, Windows Live, Office Live, Xbox LIVE, Live Search, Facebook and more, and its global technology platforms and tools that include Atlas, AdECN, adCenter, DRIVEpm, Massive and ScreenTonic, which together create engaging digital advertising experiences for their consumers. Microsoft Advertising helps make buying and selling media simple, smart and cost-effective across media and devices in the Microsoft network of properties and beyond, which spans 42 markets globally and 21 languages. Visit http://advertising.microsoft.com for more information.
About Massive Inc.
Massive Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Microsoft Corp., is the creator of a leading network for dynamic video game advertising. The Massive network offers advertisers the ability to engage an aggregated gaming audience in real time across multiple platforms. Over 300 blue-chip advertisers have run campaigns across the Massive network throughout North America and Europe. Publishers in the Massive network generate revenue through dynamic in-game advertising, enabling them to fully realize the value of their content while preserving and enhancing the game experience. Massive’s technology allows for downloadable media and advertising content to be contextually integrated into the game environment, including image, audio, video and game object formats. More information can be found online at http://www.massiveincorporated.com.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.
* Interpret/Nielsen Research 2006–2008
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