Second Life and Advertising

There was an interesting article in the most recent issue of Communication Arts. The article I read does not appear to be online, however, as of this writing, so I will have to summarize it for you. (which I would probably do anyway, so what the heck).

First a little about Communication Arts. I still get the dead tree version, where as I have given up one some of my other magazines because they are not timely enough. However, CA is more  of a gathering and distilling type of magazine. In this issue, the Sept/Oct 2007, they were covering, among other things, the graphic design world  of Australia and the advertising world of Modernista!. It is the type of magaizine that you can read at any time, and it will still be timely. In fact, I tend to keep back issues around for inspiration, espaically the design advertising issue.

The article in question was about Second Life, the virtual world that has become so popular as of late. I have friends who are into World of Warcraft, and when I am not busy I got into a little bit of DragonFable, but this is much more than that (well not much more that WoW, but more than Dragon Fable or even Club Penguin).

But the article wasn’t talking about the popularity of the game, which is well know, but how advertisers and businesses are squeezing in and making themselves know. When people aren’t watching TV, and missing the commercials there, and they aren’t reading the newspaper and missing those ads, what do you do? You move into the virtual world, and see if you can catch up with them there, apparently.

In fact, agencies have been created to specifically advertising on this type of virtual world. One  Millions of Us does nothing else. It is amazing to think that there is a whole media out there, that people who don’t go into these worlds would never see. I’m sure it has always been like this. Advertising done on sports shows is very different then ones you find of family shows, than different those on soap operas. But, the average person could still stumble across them.

While looking to see if I could find the article on line, I fell upon this article about how out of date CA is. But, I think the writer misunderstands who the magazine is written for. I’m sure we are old graphic artists, ones who didn’t grow up in the world of the Internet. Heck, some of my colleagues don’t even go near a computer when they aren’t working. They do not spend any more time then they have to on it. I think the reviewer is writing to a younger hipper audience, and is being unfair. As I appear to be the target audience, I feel that it is quite relavent. I don’t think that Sam, the author of the article, was saying that "Wow, look here is a new virtual world". What I think he was saying, as I mentioned above, that it was cool that there were ad agencies out there build around this virtual world.

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