Xfm extends ‘outdoor’ ad campaign into online game

Xfm, the indie rock radio station, is to advertise inside computer game Anarchy Online as part of its £500,000 push to promote Christian O’Connell’s Breakfast Show.

Xfm’s outdoor ads, part of the “Welcome to Christian’s World” campaign, will feature as part of the virtual environment inside the computer game, visible to players in the same way that the actual posters can be seen in the real world.

An Xfm spokeswoman says: “This is a way of reaching consumers in our target market via a unique medium.”

The campaign also features posters on the street and in London Underground stations, as well as ambient advertising in the form of beer mats and sandwich boards. Creative work is by Mother, with media buying by Zenith Optimedia and media strategy by Rocket.

Advertising in computer games has been given a boost recently by the success of US agency The Massive Network, which plans and creates in-game campaigns and is soon to launch in Europe. The agency has a deal with Nielsen Interactive Entertainment to provide accurate viewing data for its ads.

But in-game ads are not new. Observers suggest that they first appeared as long ago as 1984, in the Ocean Software title Daley Thompson’s Decathlon. In 2000, Freeloader, a UK site that offered cheap versions of games to consumers who agreed to receive advertising with the titles, launched an in-game ad service, while in 2002, Electronic Arts signed multi-million dollar deals with McDonald’s and Intel for ads in the online version of The Sims.

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