Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Advertising Virtually

As written by Kotler, advertising is any paid form of nonpersonal presentation and promotion of ideas, goods, or services by an identified sponsor. He states, "Advertising is also very expressive-it allows the company to dramatize its products through the artful use of visuals, print, sound, and color" (Kotler, 355).

When I read that sentence, I thought about how companies market in the virtual world Second Life (SL). In May 2007, Kraft, together with IBM and National Grocers Association, launched Phil's Supermarket in SL. Kraft paid an undisclosed amount of money to sponsor the virtual market and is the only food manufacturer whose brands appear in the store. It originally used SL to showcase 70 new products as part of its sales pitch to retailers, but because the store is a permanent feature on SL, it also serves consumers who have a presence in the SL community.

When entering Phil's Supermarket, differing virtual Kraft products float and rotate in the air. Avatars, virtual members of SL, have the ability to touch these products and receive more information about them. For instance, when I touched Philadelphia's Cracker Spreads, I was able to get its ingredients and nutrition information. Due to this feature, consumers gain insight on what new product they want to purchase on their next grocery trip. This new approach of interactive informative advertising gets consumers more involved than the traditional forms of advertising (i.e. print ads, commercials, etc.). As we discussed in class and as Kotler mentions throughout his book, consumers' role in marketing is greater now than ever before. While speaking about Kraft's launch in SL, Kraft North America president Rick Searer states, "We are looking at our products through a new lens-the eyes of the consumer."

To summarize, Kraft advertises on SL to reach out to the virtual community by promoting its products through the artful use of moving icons which provide consumers with interactive information.



Amanda Saechao
Section E

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