Monday, February 11, 2008

A Genuine Advocate

This video was posted to twitter, and it got me thinking...

How is it that ads like this end up getting made? I'm sure they started working on the ad with the intention of showing how interesting the game design field can be. How did it go from a good concept with potential to...this?

Traditionally Marketing is done from the top down.

Marketing comes up with a message they want to deliver. In this case, that game design can be fun, rewarding, and a fulfilling career choice and that this is the school you should attend to get there.

Then they decide how to portray that message. They try and create a scripted experience of somebody who has completed the program and started his career in game design.

The intended message filters down through executives, consultants, legal...etc.

Eventually we end up with this diluted ad that is not representative at all of the game design field. The scripted experience fails to convey the message they originally intended because most of the true experience is lost in the process.

Unless I've got a graduate of the school sitting next to me while watching the ad and telling me the school rocks, I'm going to dismiss it as another shoddy plug.

How would this ad be different if it was created with the experience first?

What if it was created by the guy sitting next to me telling me the school rocks? What if he loved the school so much that he decided to make a YouTube video about his experience there.

It's what I'd term "bottom-up marketing"; start with the experience and arrive at the message. It is one of the key traits of user created content and social media and the reason it has potential for incredible success.

When you allow somebody who has experienced a product to express their opinion to others, it is better than any 30 second TV spot. Advertisements can make me laugh, entertain me, or annoy me; a genuine advocate can change my mind.


Jeffry Pilcher said...

This kind of advertising is a very small step above get-rich-quick infomercials on late night TV. If the advertiser had a real, satisfied graduate, I'd bet they'd use him or her.

It's hard to criticize these kinds of ads when we aren't the target audience - people who want "hope at any price," and aren't that concerned with actual outcomes.

They dream about a different lifestyle and regret not taking their education more seriously. This ad dangles the prestige of "higher education" with the implausible promise to "get paid playing video games."

These ads are psychological childsplay (insultingly so, if you ask me). They exploit the audience's emotions with little regard for their intellectual acumen.

Andy said...

There are quite a few graduates of Collins floating around CG and game design forums, most of them say it was a pretty good school. When I was considering animation as a career I had Collins on my list of schools along with Full Sail and The Art Institute of Boston. It is a credited school (Full Sail is not). I heard Collins is a good school for game design, as long as you are motivated to learn and actually try. It was this ad that finally turned me off completely to the school. I certainly was their target audience at the time.

The ad isn't about playing games for money, its about designing them. A lot of the design is "Hey which way should this guy move, does that sound effect still work here" but the representation was awful.

Sorry, that was a bit of a rant.

Anyway, I was just using it as an example. This ad is close in quality to most local TV spots. Ads like this do nothing to get me to buy their product (and can even turn me off to them), but if somebody were to say "hey they are a great company" I'd be much more inclined to check out the product.

Even if they didn't have a satisfied graduate, you would think they could come up with a more compelling ad than they did.