As mobile phones and internet access from these devices gets faster, it’s no surprise that advertisers and consumers will start to interact more using them.
Perhaps this example in Japan is what we can expect in the near future. Called Chipuya Town (note site in Japanese), and modelled on the Shibuya shopping district of Tokyo, consumers earn currency by adding friends. This currency is known as Grooves and can be used to purchase accessories for your avatar, apartments and furniture etc.
What is most amazing to me is that Advertisers are paying $4,000 / month to advertise on in world billboards. Or for $8,000 a month, they can rent a virtual storefront including display of ads in and outside the store, hosting in-store promotions and even the hire of a truck to travel around the district handing out promotional material. The world was created by Japanese mobile tech company Media Grove.
Perspective: Whilst this is very Japanese, the main market being teenage girls, there are trends here that almost model the evolution of any new advertising medium. An area of interest is created where people congregate to consume or engage in it’s content. Then the area is developed with the help of advertising spend in return for opportunities to communicate to the congregated audience. I suspect it won’t be long before these worlds contain automated robotic avatar agents (let’s call them “Avaborgs”) that are programmed to market products and services. Do WOMMA ethics apply to Avaborgs? (grins)