Automakers Incorporating Video Games into Marketing Strategy

It’s no secret that automakers face a challenge when trying to convince Millennials to purchase vehicles. Millennials are holding back on making big purchases autobecause of financial difficulties. In addition, Millennials don’t like to be advertised to through traditional means. Automakers may have found a way to improve their situation by promoting themselves while entertaining this audience through video games.

Companies such as Audi are releasing video games that allow players to race their models through challenging on-​screen courses. Kai Mensing, head of International Product Placement at Audi notes that the company is reaching the youth audience as well as the core audience by letting gamers have an interactive experience with the vehicles. Nissan, which spends 25% of its ad budget on digital, has featured its vehicles in Gran Turismo where game players can steer a Leaf electric car.   Mercedes has also explored video game placement in a campaign it did with SimCity social.

Automakers have long paid to put their vehicles in feature films but the video game placement strategy has a couple of unique benefits – lower cost and interaction.

In addition to promoting specific vehicles in video games, automakers can also use in-​game advertising in other ways. For example, mobile games are proving to be a great draw for older consumers, especially women.  If auto ads can be incorporated into games, such as Draw Something, automakers may be able to reach new audiences.

To learn more about a specific car buying audience, such as SUV shoppers, check out the AudienceSCAN report available on the Research Store at ad​-ology​.com.

[Sources: Hetzner, Christiaan and Wolde, Harro Ten. Automakers are Counting on Video Games.  Businessinsider​.com. 22 Aug. 2013. Web. 3 Sep. 2013; D’Amico, Mary Lisbeth. In-​Game Advertising. Clickz​.com. 29 Nov. 2012. Web. 30 Aug. 2013] 
Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.