Ford Drives Real World Customers from the Gaming World

Today Ford announced their latest advertising initiative, which involves the gaming world.  No, you won’t be able to play Angry Birds in your car via Sync, that would likely prove dangerous.  What Ford is doing is branding their vehicles in video games, and it’s actually not something new.  They have been at this for a while, beginning in 1995 with Sega Rally, but they are now making a more concerted push.

While gamers seem locked into their virtual worlds, they are surprisingly aware of the products that appear in those worlds.  And driving games may be one of the genres where the gamer is most aware of the product.  After all, the gamer in a car race is keenly aware of the car he or she chooses because it may make the difference between winning and losing.

“We’ve realized that gaming is something that many people have grown up with and helps define who they are,” said Brian Mcclary, with Ford’s Social and Emerging Media team. “Ford has gained positive exposure and popularity because we put our products into the right games while giving something back to the gamer.”

Ford is doubling down their efforts now with the release of Forza Motor Sport 4 (released 10/11/11) and Need for Speed The Run (to be released 11/15/11).  They have found that allowing their vehicles to be used in-game gets them more brand recognition and more positive feedback, which translates to more potential customers.  Here are the numbers that they provided from their study.

36% increase in brand rating

28% increase in purchase consideration

39% increase in brand recommendation

45% more gamers agreed Ford Focus is fun to drive

It’s good to see Ford continue to “get it” with their innovation to keep them on top in an ever-changing digital world.  Their partnership with Microsoft for the Sync system and the forward looking advertising with gaming and even with supporting podcasts is something many other old-world companies should take note of.

If you are a gamer, you can check out Forza Motor Sport 4 in the Xbox Marketplace and NSF The Run at the EA Need for Speed website (you can pre-order now).  You can view a trailer of NSF below, but it’s not completely family safe (language).

EA Releases Need for Speed Hot Pursuit for Android

EA, one of the most popular game makers, has been in the mobile market for some time now.  Thanks to a deal with some handset makers, like Motorola, preview editions of their games come pre-installed.  That’s great but, of course, to get the whole game you have to pay up.  Also, in some cases the games are not even an option for uninstall.  That’s bad, but here’s what is not so bad – EA makes some really good games.  Their flagship racing game, Need for Speed, has been a best-seller in the Android Market with the “NSF Shift” version.

Now NSF Shift has been surpassed by EA’s latest release, which hit the market a couple of days ago.  Need for Speed Hot Pursuit is now available with a host of cool features.  You can choose from a variety of sports cars that will make the average male drool.  There’s the Porsche, Pagani, Bugotti, and Lamborghini Murcielago to name just a few.  Or, if you choose to be the cop in this game, you can get the rarest of them all – the Lamborghini Reventon.

Before you get too excited though, there’s one key thing you need to know.  To get the hottest cars you will need to unlock them.  Unlocking a car requires a certain amount of points.  With each point level reached another vehicle becomes available.  Once you get a car you can choose to use it or any of the ones you have already unlocked.  You can also customize its color by using sliders to choose the way you want your vehicle to look.  Like the previous NSF Shift, it uses your phone’s accelerometer to control the car.

The game is available for $6.99 from the Android Market.  It’s not a small download, being around 500MB when it’s all said and done, but it will entertain any mobile gamer.  In the first 24 hours my son is up to a Porsche Cayman, but I would really like my Droid back…