Originally published in The Drum.
Marketing has been slow to realize the potential of the gaming behemoth. Last year, we reported that many of the big networks were trying to redress the balance by spinning out dedicated gaming offerings. As part of The Drum’s Gaming Advertising Deep Dive, we check in with some of the biggest players to see how things are going.
If last year was all about the networks spinning out new gaming offerings, this year has been all about integration. Agencies are embedding their gaming offerings within wider expertise to draw in bigger brands. The focus is ‘non-endemics’: brands from outside the traditional gaming space. As brands awaken to the possibilities of this enormous and still-growing market, agencies are helping them to tool up and spawn in ready to win.
Back in February, VCCP launched a dedicated gaming proposition, VCCP+. Headed up by strategy vet Jonny Shaw, whose creds include Xbox’s European launch and work with legendary developer Rockstar in Japan, it is deploying with a dedicated staff of 15 across VCCP’s New York and London offices.
That slim headcount is no accident. Rather than creating a gaming silo, the aim is to advocate for gaming across the business. “What we are not trying to do is build a satellite arm that does experiments on the side,” says Shaw. “We’re building it as a core discipline to sit at the center of our business.”
Shaw is rhapsodic about the need for a paradigm shift in the industry’s approach to gaming. “The opportunity for non-endemic brands in the game space is completely unexplored – it’s an absolutely strategy-free space.
“It is by far the biggest entertainment vertical of them all. It’s criminal, in my opinion, how neglected it is in the world of marketing. It’s a bigger, more important phenomenon than social, yet it’s given a minuscule fraction of the attention and budget that social gets. Any agency that doesn’t have a gaming practice right now is negligent to the point of being incompetent.”