PRWeek: Where did the idea for Gamelink Messaging come from?
Victoria Lang: About a year ago we were working on a Webisode series for a major women's Web site. Ultimately, the Webisode idea was nixed in favor of online casual games. We were confused and wondered why games would be chosen to target women. After some research, we realized that the online casual gaming market is huge, growing at 79% year-over-year, and that over two-thirds of the players are female. The demographics were in line with those of the PR clients we service, who are always looking for new PR tools. Online gaming has a huge market, with over 200 million casual gamers per month, two-thirds of which are female.
PRWeek: How does Gamelink Messaging work?
Lang: Our first project, Fashion Planet's "What To Wear," is a fashion and beauty game debuting on social networks such as Facebook and MySpace in the spring/summer. It will be followed by a “busy mom“ and a “food” themed game this fall. While playing the game, messaging and tips are strategically given to players describing the features and benefits of the product, which help players in their daily game challenges. Players' actions in the game are reported to their friends via social network activity feeds, i.e., the Facebook Newsfeed. Friends learn from friends about special features and offers; [they] can send friends to a brand's Web site. Brands and messaging remain in the game for 90 days; copy can be changed every two weeks to accommodate multiple messages, and metrics are reported twice a month.
PRWeek: The press release introducing Gamelink Messaging talks about the popularity of online gaming with women. What types of games are women most interested in?
Lang: Word and puzzle - logic, strategy, and problem solving - games are the most popular with women, especially those with themes on fashion, décor, and food. In most cases, women seem to be drawn to games with a leader board - a ranking of who is winning - or social interaction, both of which are provided in Gamelink Messaging's distribution on social networks. Surprisingly, the social interaction has led to more than one in five women extending their online friendship offline.