Prof. Jenkins, who among other things heads an MIT research consortium that focuses on branding cultures, gave a presentation yesterday on in-game advertising. MediaPost runs an outline of the presentation. If you would like a copy of the PowerPoint slides, write to vedrashko at hotmail and I'll be glad to send you the file.
"Advertisers have started to buy billboards in racing, sports, and action games, but these aren't the only branding opportunities, said Henry Jenkins, a comparative media studies professor at MIT. He pointed out that characters in the "Grand Theft Auto" series interact with different media. For example, fake magazines are sprinkled in offices throughout its virtual cities; players also interact with different radio stations when driving a car. In fact, Jenkins noted that a few record labels have used these radio channels to promote new artists to "Grand Theft Auto"'s predominantly male 18-34 crowd. Many games, like Tom Clancy's "Splinter Cell," have TV monitors in the backgrounds of their virtual department stores and office buildings--and Jenkins said there's no reason these couldn't be showing commercials."