Maroon and Gamer: Lazy Marketing

I think by this point in time, we’re all familiar with YouTube.

Bought by Google for $1.65 billion in 2006, YouTube is such a force in the 21st Century that it democratizes the film making process and raises awareness for aspiring young actors and film directors.  Even with the occasional cat videos or manipulative YouTube user, YouTube has been the go-to source to maximize the exposure to any videos that you may have. The number of views and subscribers one has directly corresponds to the amount of money they get and eventually they become YouTube partners.

Once YouTube started expanding their partnership agreement to video game commentaries, the market became so over-saturated that there was no real way to discern the upper echelon of commentators other than seeing their videos and forming an opinion for yourself. This eventually continued to another dark side of video game marketing that exposes the business marketers that are trying and those that simply aren’t.

I am, of course, talking about a recent trend in which YouTube personalities get invited to appear in video game trailers and host conventions.

Despite Ubisoft’s overwhelming success at the E3 2012 Press Conference, there was one YouTube personality that just flopped over and over and over again in his delivery of jokes. That suspension of laughter that you here are investors and journalists who can’t seem to contemplate who exactly this person is and why he is being rude to the host of the press conference.

So if his whole shtick is being loud and being rude then how does he keep getting work? The answer is 2,606,138 subscribers and 555,575,703 video views. He is simply a marketing vehicle that companies approach to advertise their game and market to an audience that might not have been interested in the game if Tobuscus wasn’t involved.

But when you think about it; it is a lazy marketing tactic. Rather than come up with an inventive and creative way to advertise your game, the marketing department for these video game companies decides to look at who’s popular and throw them into an advertisement. Nowhere is this more evident than the “Surprise” – Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 Live-Action trailer.

Clearly I have no problem with Hollywood actors or professional athletes advertising products. Robert Downey Jr. is a successful film actor that has risen in his Iron-Man films (playing a subservient role in the Black Ops 2 trailer to YouTube personalities) and LeBron James promotes Sprite. These actors and athletes actually worked for their success over an extended period of time.

But when you just throw up a camera and capture yourself performing banal actions like playing a video game or shopping at IKEA, the message becomes about copying what these YouTube personalities have done and garner fame.

YouTube personalities are so two-dimensional in their execution on their YouTube videos that the marketing gimmicks of including YouTube personalities comes off, to me at least, as lazy.

I’m not here on my soapbox screaming to people to improve your viewing tastes because that gets us nowhere. I simply would like people to demand quality advertisements for their games like the excellent Dead Island trailer.


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