12 October 2007

Advertising on XBox

Yesterday's New York Times ran a fascinating business story about Toyota's movement into the video game world.

It isn't selling the games. It is selling itself within the games. Advertising -- or more strictly, product placement -- has come to the world of the Xbox.

The Times' story starts with a new Toyota Yaris which "has a giant tentacle that reaches out of its roof to shoot enemies as it races through a futuristic tunnel, sometimes within inches of soaring fireballs," and is the central character in the new Xbox game, also accordingly called Yaris.

This may be the best pop cultural thing to happen to Toyota iun the US since South Park portrayed the owners of its Prius as impossibly smug people whose self-satisfaction may result in meteorological disaster.

Actually, it might be an even better bit of product placement than that.

The Yaris (not the model with the robotic tentacle, though) is BTW a real car. It was introduced in Europe in 1999 and in America in the spring of last year.
The 2007 models come as a three-door hatchback ($10,950), a basic four-door sedan ($11,825), or a sportier sedan, $13,325).

Although advertising through video games isn't entirely new, (advertisers will spend $502 million on such deals this year, the NYT story says) it does appear to still be new to the automobile business. And another case where Toyota has stolen a march on its US based counterparts.

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Knowledge is warranted belief -- it is the body of belief that we build up because, while living in this world, we've developed good reasons for believing it. What we know, then, is what works -- and it is, necessarily, what has worked for us, each of us individually, as a first approximation. For my other blog, on the struggles for control in the corporate suites, see www.proxypartisans.blogspot.com.