Penny Arcade, a site which I believe I’m the only person on this board who reads, posted this on Wednesday and it has continued to pry at the back of my mind for a bit. It almost feels too “conspiracy theory” for me to accept it.
They’re talking about “viral marketing”, but it is more along the lines of stealth marketing if you ask me. A quote from a letter of unnamed source:
Does anyone have any experience with this? I mean, is it really this bad such that I should assume Dave Long is a Nintendo Shill and Tom is a RTS Shill, etc? (Note: I abuse Dave and Tom here because they are clearly not shills.)
I am looking for a good comic-book about the son of the grim reaper and his quirky pals. If there is a handheld videogame version also available, even better. Can anyone recommend anything that might suit my needs?
I talked to the Hype Council… Apparently that info is out of date… A reply they sent to Penny Arcade follows… They weren’t pissed at the mention, they got a lot of biz inquries from that post.
We’ve received a great number of inquiries from the result of your post at Penny-Arcade.com. I’d like to point out that NBA Live 2004, was not a title we ever worked. It matters very little, as YES we did provide stealth marketing services as pointed out in the post. While our tactics were a little less dubious than described in the quote you pulled, they were not transparent. We stopped providing these types of services in November of 2003.
Any work that we do in community forums and blogs is with the full awareness and support of the community members and the forum owners. All of the work we do with third party websites is “paid advertising”. While we are not claiming innocence, some of the information in your post is incorrect. I wanted to state, for the record, our position and let all of your readers know that we have been committed to transparent marketing for more than two years. I welcome anyone to post evidence to the contrary.
S C O T T M E L D R U M
p r e s i d e n t & f o u n d e r
When I was a beta tester for Screamin’ Demons Over Europe they delayed the game until February, but they had already blown their marketing budget on full-page ads November. So Parsoft said, “Guys, if you like the game, could you go chat it up? We basically blew our marketing budget and word of mouth is the only way anyone is going to hear about it.”
So I went out there and chatted it up in flight-sim circles. In fact, I wrote a bunch of “There I was…” posts (that I wish I still had, because I remember them as being pretty good) on the Delphi forums and elsewhere. I evangelized for this game.
The designers actually noticed, and not only did they congratulate me in email, they… (wait for it) sent me a gold master so I could continue to play the game until my boxed version arrived. Now I chatted this thing up without expecting anything, just because I liked the game (it got me into flight sims), but man, is that the lamest reward ever? I mean, give me a frikkin’ t-shirt or mousepad or something, but don’t send me the game that you’re going to send me anyway in another two weeks.
I guess they made the mistake of thinking you actually liked their game and would like to keep playing. Oh well. On the t-shirt and mousepad front, I imagine their having already blown their marketing budget might have had something to do with that particular omission.