Your client at a video game convention
Reach thousands of affluent gamers with street teams
October 22, 2012
Video gamers are a surprisingly attractive audience for advertisers, and a great place to reach them is at gaming conventions, where the industry gathers to show off the latest games, devices and consoles.
The average gamer is 30 years old and has been playing for 12 years. Fifty-six percent of Americans who make at least $75,000 a year play some form of video games.
Using street teams or an on-site display, advertisers at conferences can target large numbers of gamers in a short amount of time, in a place where they're enjoying something they're passionate about.
To find out how to get your client at gaming conventions, read on.
This is one in a Media Life series on buying out-of-home venues. They appear weekly.
Advertising at video game conventions.
Any agency with street team or guerrilla marketing capabilities can execute a campaign at gamer conventions.
How it works
Video game conventions are similar to comic book conventions, right down to the fans who attend the events dressed as their favorite game characters.
The most common way for advertisers to target convention attendees is through street teams and on-site displays like booths or trailers.
Street teams can wander the premises, both inside and outside the venues, interacting with gamers, passing out samples and talking up this or that product.
Convention-goers are always looking for the next cool thing, and so the most effective street teams use gimmicks to draw people’s attention, such as an iPad to show off clips of new games or branded Segway scooters with a video screen and console for people to try out new games.
Advertisers can also set up displays to attract and interact with convention attendees via methods such as trailers equipped with 60-inch video screens where visitors can try the latest games or consoles.
Displays can also be more imaginative. At the PAX convention in Seattle last year, the makers of a game called "World of Tanks" had an actual life-size army tank on hand, along with street team members dressed in military gear.
The industry's most important event, the Electronic Entertainment Expo, takes place in Los Angeles. It’s slated for June 11 to 13 next year.
Many other cities host smaller gaming conventions, including Boston, New York, Cincinnati, Chicago, Columbus, Indianapolis, St. Paul, Omaha, Atlanta, Orlando, Raleigh, Nashville, Memphis, Salt Lake City, Anaheim, Seattle, Las Vegas and Portland.
More than 45,000 attended this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo. Another convention, PAX East in Boston, brought in more than 69,000 visitors last year.
According to the Electronic Software Association, 49 percent of U.S. households own a dedicated gaming console, and those that do own an average of two per household.
Around two-thirds of Americans, or 211.5 million, play video games, down 5 percent from last year, according to NPD Group.
How it is measured
Gamer conventions keep basic attendance data to help estimate impressions. Street teams can also track other things, such as how many samples were distributed or how many people tried out a game or device.
What product categories work well
Recent or current gamer convention advertisers include computers, game publishers, TV networks, movies, snack foods, retail and soft drinks.
Fifty-three percent of gamers are male and 47 percent female, according to the Electronic Software Association.
Eighty-one percent of adults ages 18-29 play games, as do 60 percent of 30-49s, 40 percent of 50-64s and 23 percent of those 65-plus.
Among those who make less than $30,000 a year, 52 percent play video games, as well as 59 percent of those between $30,000 and $49,999, 62 percent for those between $50,000 and $74,999, and 56 percent for those who make $75,000 a year or more.
Making the buy
Preferred lead time is 30 to 60 days.
Pricing varies depending on the number of days and size of the campaign, but a three-day event can cost anywhere from $15,000 to $60,000.
Who's already been at gaming conventions
Current or recent brands that have advertised at gaming conventions include Game Informer, BET, Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo, Electronic Arts, Monster, Intel, Nvidia, Ubisoft and Target.
What they're saying
"Gamers have disposable income to spend, and these people are early adopters. If they get on something, then the message will spread and become viral with them starting it. They're also very active on social media." — Adam Hollander, creative producer at Brand Marketers.
Web site info
Electronic Entertainment Expo
PAX (Penny Arcade Expo)
michael alan group
Tags: advertisers, Brand Marketers, campaign, Electronic Entertainment Expo, gaming, out of home, out of home advertising, outdoor advertising, people, street teams, target, time, video game conventions, video games
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