Mobile Avatars & Multimedia Brand Marketing

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CBS Interactive, along with Artificial Life, Inc., have announced the launch of an avatar-based mobile game based on the “America’s Next Top Model” reality television show. This is the first in a coming trend of TV crossover campaigns aimed at mobile consumers.

The mobile game, which allows virtual characters to inhabit cell phones, is available for immediate download in the U.S., with plans to get the service up and running quickly in Hong Kong and other countries.

“We are very excited about this product launch and the opportunity of working with one of the world’s leading media companies to produce leading edge mobile games based on such a well known and globally popular TV shows as ‘America’s Next Top Model’ on the CW,” said Eberhard Schoeneburg, CEO of Artificial Life, Inc.

“After the initial launch in the US we will also launch the game in many other countries around the globe.”

Brand marketing and awareness is quickly gravitating toward this type of integrated approach geared at reaching a new breed of mobile consumer.

According the Wall Street Journal, “Top Model” is just the first in a line of television programs slated to make the jump into the mobile marketplace:

The TV-inspired cellphone games also reflect the growing use of avatars to engage customers and audiences. In partnership with Cyworld, a South Korea-based online social-networking site, NBC Universal plans to offer an avatar based on Fancy, a character in its popular daytime teen show “Passions,” later this month.

Cyworld members and NBC.com visitors will be able to buy avatar clothing and furniture and decorate a virtual bedroom for Fancy, who lives with her very rich grandmother. Cyworld launched its U.S. site last summer.

But with the unavoidable price tag, will users actually care enough about these shows to shell out money to bring these avatars to their cell phones and mobile devices?

I mean, I like American Idol as much as the next guy, but I’m not thrilled about paying money for a virtual contestant when I can go home and watch the show for free.

Perhaps the networks should look at product placement or other advertising supported models in its efforts to monetize the service, rather than passing along the cost to the consumers. Until then, the draw of “contestant avatar” will most likely be miniscule, at best.

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Joe is a staff writer for WebProNews. Visit WebProNews for the latest ebusiness news.

Mobile Avatars & Multimedia Brand Marketing
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