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The Holy Grail for advertising may be being that provider that can give a brand the ability to seamlessly interact with individuals while in both an offline, and online environment – a rich media psychology topic. In this way, messaging may become more personal and interactive, comprised of a single narrative that crosses between worlds – real and imagined. For the provider, it also enables the ability to offer market players, and other interested parties, the highly attractive proposition that individuals can be steered toward certain locations and behaviors that benefit the market player’s business (or at the very least, generate more data for some such as Google). By doing such, the provider establishes one narrative, like a game scenario, mapped onto the real world where the membrane of hyper reality can include any and all brands – as merely a name, all the way to personifications, or icons of brands, or causes that a player can interact with. Edward Bernays could only have dreamed of such ability while writing The Engineering of Consent which describes how to psychologically manipulate a population to want things they do not need (Bernays, 1947).

Once a player accepts the game, he or she may find themselves within a world created by the advertiser which unfolds a hyper reality composed of any number of cues and stimulus, incentives and directions, all benefits which on one hand keep users interested, and on the other ensure revenue for clients. Google’s new mobile platform offering, Ingress, may be just the start of such a behavioral “soft control” endeavor which can envelope a user in an augmented reality game designed to move the player around to key locations within actual cities, similar to geocaching.

“What’s also interesting, if Ingress and similar games gain traction, is the potential for subtle content delivery…//…Advertising takes minimal effort – an energy hotspot appearing in a large retail store, for example, or in-game events that include industries or companies dealing with the effects of this new energy source. Businesses could even appear as “sponsors” of one game faction or the other, lending their good name to the virtual cause. It’s not hard to imagine a situation where consumer goods purchased outside of the game world confer bonuses inside; this already happens with the release of popular titles like Call of Duty and Halo 4″ (Bonderud, 2012).

References

Bernays, E. (1947). The Engineering of Consent. The Annals of the American Academy, 113-120.

Bonderud, D. (2012, Nov 19). Google’s Ingress: Game, Reality – Marketing Opportunity? Retrieved Nov 19, 2012, from The Content Standard: http://www.contentstandard.com/business/googles-ingress-game-reality-marketing-opportunity/

Google. (2012). Retrieved Nov 19, 2012, from Ingress: http://www.ingress.com/

Ravenscraft, E. (2012, Nov 20). [Review] Ingress Is, By Far, The Best Augmented Reality Game A Curious Explorer In The City Can Play. Retrieved Nov 19, 2012, from Android Police: http://www.androidpolice.com/2012/11/20/ingress-is-by-far-the-best-augmented-reality-game-a-curious-explorer-in-the-city-can-play/

Rula, J., & Bustamante, F. E. (2012). Crowd (Soft) Control. Retrieved Nov 28, 2012, from HotMobile: http://www.hotmobile.org/2012/papers/HotMobile12-final75.pdf

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