In-game advertising within online games such as FarmVille could be of real benefit to hotel brands – but they should not make the same mistakes as McDonald's.
Speaking at the BDRC Continental Insight and Future Planning Forum, internet researcher James Myring said McDonald's had run a one-day ‘McCafe’ campaign within FarmVille, a Facebook game which allows players to manage virtual farms and has 84 million active monthly users.
The promotion enabled players to win virtual objects for their farms and virtual McDonald’s food and drink. It appeared to be a success with 1,696 posts about it uploaded to the internet immediately afterwards, however many of the comments were in fact negative.
Myring, director media research, BDRC Continental said: “People were confused about the campaign and what it was offering. Some people felt having an ornamental hot air balloon for their farm was not reward enough. While a McDonald's coffee, which made the farmers move at double speed was of no benefit in this particular game. It felt like the executives hadn’t spent long playing it and didn’t understand it.”
Myring added that a lot of people were disappointed they couldn’t take part in the campaign because they were located outside of the UK. He said: “All of the negative comments were down to creative execution, confusion, lack of reward and the promotion not being available.
“The key to planning a successful in-game campaign is to get into the game, link the campaign to real benefits and achievement that adds perceived value to the brand and understand the medium you’re investing in.”
Pictured: The McCafe in FarmVille