Transcript of June 23, 2006 Second Life Avatar Marketing Panel
On June 23rd, the Berkman Center hosted a two-hour panel discussion in Second Life titled "Avatar-based Marketing: What's the Future of Real-Life Companies Marketing to Second Life Avatars?" With a distinguished panel of specialists and nearly 50 participants, the meeting encouraged the exchange of experience between real and virtual marketers.
Participating as part of the panel:
·Razor Rinkitink (Raz Schionning), director of web services at American Apparel, which has just launched a virtual store in Second Life.
·Fizik Baskerville(Justin Bovington), a virtual marketer. His company, Rivers Run Red, serves such clients as Adidas, Disney, Vodafone, EMI, BBC and Carat. Recent projects have seen the virtual marketing developments for: 20th Century Fox, Buena Visa International, Warner/Chappel, Universal, BBC, Mtv, Fender Stratocaster.
·SNOOPYbrown Zamboni(Jeff Paffendorf), Electric Sheep Company’s futurist in residence. He is currently leading Electric Sheep's founding involvement in ASF's Metaverse Roadmap Project and helps curate the Second Life Community Convention, State of Play, and Accelerating Change conferences.
·Cristiano Midnight (Cristiano Diaz), a member of Second Life since December of 2002, created one of SL's first and longest running third party sites, SLuniverse.com in 2003. In 2004, he launched an in-world business called ANOmations, and in early 2005, he developed the Snapzilla web site.
·Zero Grace (Tony Walsh), speaker, writer, and cultural critic behind SecretLair.com and ClickableCulture.com.
·Hempman Richard (Paul Hemp), a senior editor at Harvard Business Review. He is the author of the HBR’s recent article "Avatar-Based Marketing?"
·Hamlet Au (Wagner James Au), covers Second Life society journalistically at the new New World Notes. Works as an SL consultant for both for-profit and non-profit companies, including Rivers Run Red and Creative Commons.
The event was moderated by Ansible Berkman (Rodica Buzescu), a recent graduate of Harvard College and the manager of Berkman Center's presence in Second Life.
following transcript has been edited for clarity. Changes to the raw log may include punctuation, capitalization, order of replies, spelling. Some off-topic conversations have been omitted.
Ansible Berkman (Rodica Buzescu, Berkman Center): We’ll begin with a small blurb from each panelist, in reply to a very broad question I'll ask, and then the conversation will be open to the audience. Please right-click on me and send me an instant message if you would like to participate. I'll hold a queue of individuals and call on you when the person before you has finished "speaking".
This panel has the incredible task of answering a very basic and yet large question: do virtual worlds present a significant marketing potential for real-life companies? We shall leave the moral debate on this topic for another discussion :) For now, I would like invite you to frame your answer to this important question from a marketing/logistical and even technical standpoint.
Let's start with Paul Hemp/Hempman Richard, the author of the Harvard Business Review article. He'll give us a short overview of what he has written and why he wanted to bring together such various minds to chime in on this issue
Hempman Richard (Paul Hemp, Harvard Business Review): well, I'm most interested in hearing what others on the panel AND those in the audiences have to say about my argument –that virtual worlds and games represent an unexplored opportunity for marketers of RL companies, and two, that avatars are in some way distinct consumers from their creators. That is, we're not just talking about the "where" of a new marketing frontier, but the "who".
I’d like to say thanks to the Berkman Center for hosting the event, and particularly to Ansible for all of her work in helping set this up. A brief announcement, if you haven't seen the Harvard Business Review article (http://www.hbsp.harvard.edu/hbrsa/en/issue/0606/article/R0606B.jhtml?type=F), it's free online only till June 27.
Ansible: Let's go over to Zero Grace aka Tony Walsh :) Any opening remarks, Zero?
Zero Grace (Tony Walsh, Clickable Culture): Howdy! Sure, I think it's worth exploring not only this virtual world of Second Life, but also other virtual worlds as well...It's valuable to compare and contrast the varying landscapes in order to determine viability, etc.
Also, I'm wondering where the typist ends and where the avatar begins, in terms of being a consumer that can be targeted.
Ansible: Thank you, Zero :) I'm intentionally skipping Hamlet a bit and moving on to Cristiano. We'll see if he chooses to bring up the Snapzilla issue :) Cris?
Cristiano Midnight (Cristiano Diaz, SLUniverse, Snapzilla): Hi there. Well, to expand on what Tony said, I do think that each environment is different and more or less viable for various reasons - SL I think presents the most comprehensive environment to explore this issue in. No other environment I can think of offers the depth of content creation that SL does. That said, I think any company that comes along and does not understand the environment and just treats it as another marketing venue is doomed to fail
I think, for example, the way that American Apparel has entered SL has been a very interesting and effective thing - I knew nothing of their company beforehand, and the clothes are actual clothes I would wear on my avatar: so at least marketing to me, they were quite effective - I would be more inclined to explore their RL offerings as well
Finally, I just again want to register my vocal protest to Linden Labs registration changes, which I think in the context of this discussion threatens the viability of SL as a platform for trusted commerce and business
Snapzilla issue mentioned :)
Ansible: Thanks Cris, very good intro to your perspective on this :) Hamlet? :)
Hamlet Au (Warner James Au, http://nwn.blogs.com/nwn/):Yes! The potential for marketing in online worlds is truly staggering, especially when you take the definition beyond straight up MMOs like World of Warcraft or user-created worlds like Second Life. For example, there's Habbo Hotel in Europe and Cyworlds in South Korea, both much more limited avatar-driven experiences, but online worlds all the same.
For that matter, even MySpace and other Web-driven interfaces have MMO aspects as well. But today we're also seeing some clear examples of issues need to consider. Online worlds very much involve social contracts in the sense meant by Nozick and Rawls, to cite two great Harvard alums. And creating a world that's ideal for marketers *and* its subscribers is a matter of finding a balance between Nozick's libertarian society and Rawls' free society with government assistance (i.e., the company in this case.) So when the social contract fails or becomes too restrictive, the dangers emerge. As we see in Cristiano's decision to close down his Snapzilla today, very much the Flickr of Second Life, in protest of Linden Lab's recent changes to the billing policy. This is actually a good thing for the vibrancy of the world, just like the tax revolt of three years ago was.
Hopefully LL and the residents will strike a compromise between their interests. The larger moral for marketers is to understand in online worlds, especially user-created worlds like this one, the consumer is also the creator, and you have to work with them together on creating a worthwhile experience. Thanks!
Ansible:Hamlet, if we let you, you can write an article on the spot ;)Thank you, very insightful! Moving on to Snoopy aka Jeff Paffendorf…still with us?
SNOOPYbrown Zamboni (Jeff Paffendorf, Electric Sheep):Hiya! Good to see everyone. First thoughts: Virtual worlds face what I call "the gravity of reality" (truly a force) on a number of fronts. A couple of big ones: As people spend more time using virtual worlds that are web-connected, they'll want to sew them into the rest of their lives-- identity, friendship, and work-wise. So it makes sense for outside offerings to come in and mingle with the homegrown fruit. It's natural. Over time that distinction will blur.
Also the massively multi-player VW industry itself is changing. We're moving from Blizzard's throwing $100 million top-down at fantasy games like World of Warcraft to much smaller amounts of money going into smaller, flexible, networked virtual environments like we see with Second Life and soon Multiverse and others. Environments where anything can be built, not just dragons, and real life money is encouraged to come on in. Real life companies will contribute to that development, creating their own "3d websites", coupling virtual and real versions of their products, testing out designs, styles, and campaigns in VWs, and ultimately taking products from the VW and making them real.
And now I'll pass the mic :)
Ansible: Thanks, Snoopy. Fizik? :)
Fizik Baskerville (Justin Bovington, Rivers Run Red): Good evening, from a SUNNY LONDON.
I think we should step back a bit, ask -- why suddenly the interest? The larger media companies have been searching for an alternative to the 'interuption model' or the classic 30/90 second TV commercial. They've been talking and needing a place for a 'real' brand immersion experience. Platforms like SL, are the perfect place the issue is, making sure that the brand immersion experience, is built and created from the communities wants and needs.
Also, whenever something takes 'time', in this case the time absorption taken into VW. Companies will know that the time spent is valuable and a commodity of trade. In short, the VW experience is the brand immersion experience; that’s an exciting new era for most of the media companies and brands. Thanks, over to you
Ansible: Thanks Fizik, great perspective! :) And last, but certainly not least, Razor , the American Apparel representative.
Razor Rinkitink (Raz Schionning, American Apparel): Hello everyone. My RL name is Raz Schionning and I live and work in Los Angeles. I'm the Web Director for American Apparel - so I oversee our web sites, web development, and online marketing.
AA opened the doors to Lerappa Island and our SL store a week ago and we're very excited about it. Why did we do it and what do we hope to achieve?
On a personal level I see Second Life as a budding example of the evolution of the “web experience”. The potential is amazing and very compelling. The constant expansion and participation is energizing. Our store in Second Life is an experiment in how we may establish relationships with our customers in this evolving medium.
To speak like a marketing person for a moment... I see a strong overlap between SL users and AA consumers. They are sophisticated, educated, have money to spend, and fall into our target age range. So it makes sense to investigate how we can speak to this community... Not unlike the way we approach any potential audience in order to grow our business.
That said, I have few expectations about generating significant revenue right now – it's not the objective at this point. As with all the marketing we do, we’re being innovative and keeping our ears to the ground; we want to see how people will respond to our presence in SL. That's it. Back to you.
Ansible: Thanks Raz, we're all very excited to have you here today. AA made quite a bit of history with this step into virtual land :)
Razor Rinkitink: It was an honor
Ansible: And now, we already have a few questions lined up...let's see what the audience has to say. Divo?
Divo Dapto (Joseph Jaffe, President of jaffe, LLC):Hello - My question is what essentially is the difference between the real world and virtual words - from a marketing communications perspective? In other words, what opportunities do virtual worlds offer that real world does not?
Ansible: Divo...whom are you asking. Any one of the panelists in particular?
Divo Dapto: any panelist
Hempman Richard:In responding to that question, could I first pose a question to everyone– and maybe also give us a little exercise? How many of you feel that you’re somehow different when acting and interacting in the skin of your avatar? If you do, stand up?
[~ half the avatar audience stands up]
Ansible: Nice exercise!
Zero Grace: Define "somehow different"
Hempman Richard: So, in staying seated, do those people feel pretty much like the same being?
Zero Grace: Yup.
SNOOPYbrown Zamboni: But I also feel different if I'm with friends or my parents
Hempman Richard: Well, someone who might buy something different in real life.
Ansible: Doesn’t that identity develop over how much time you invest in "feeling in your av's skin’?
Hempman Richard: It goes to Divo's question. Is this a different place -- because people are avatars?
SNOOPYbrown Zamboni: Of course I feel something different as an avatar though ;)
Csven Concord (Sven Johnson, SL Future Salon):I've never hidden my RL identity so I very much consider this an extension of my real life. I don't act differently because that would be incongruent (and too hard to track)
SNOOPYbrown Zamboni:As avatars get more popular I wonder what social pressure will say about how we look and behave as avatars that connect to our real identity
Hamlet Au:I'd love to run with the question myself. The key difference is that online worlds are an immersive and interactive space, and as I mentioned earlier, involve a collaboration between creator and consumer, especially in SL, where *everyone's* a creator. This is hugely exciting for marketers…if they understand this, because it enables them to create experiences that get people truly excited and part of their brand.
IF they make it interactive, and more than that, weave it into the world itself. So I'm not sure how much good it'll do for marketers to have billboards or even stores like the American Apparel one, if they're only exact analogues of real world marketing. I mean, who wants to *pretend* to be shopping in a mall that looks exactly like where they just were the other day?
Marketers need to be playful, need to embrace the fantasy aspect, need to embrace the ability to suddenly morph into a squirrel with a jetpack or just like I did, jump on the table and start playing air guitar.
Fizik Baskerville: The thing is…how we define marketing here?
Ansible: Fizik, it's hard to leave open-ended questions like that in this text medium. Would you like to venture a definition?
Boliver Oddfellow (Drew Stein, Infinite Vision Media):If I might make so bold the key to reaching today’s end users in this marketing space can be summed up in the words “don’t sell me...play with me”
Fizik Baskerville:Most of our clients are interested in developing brand equity, not sell directly. Therefore, the gap between RL and VW marketing is really blurred. By building a relationship and creating content that add values, its two way dialogue. As Boliver just said, it’s about giving 'props' for people to add value to their VW experience. Very much as we've just done with the BBC and 20th Century Fox
Ansible: Teth, you had a comment also?
Tetherdown Book (Michael Parsons, CNET.co.uk):Yes, that my consumption in VR worlds is friction free, so I've gone nuts - bought houses, clothes, shoes galore. In the real world, I can't buy a stamp, I hate shopping so much. So there is a giddy quantity to virtual consumption which is playful
SNOOPYbrown Zamboni: It's true, especially w/ the virtual currency, which although exchangable can feel like funny money.
Boliver Oddfellow:Which begs the question re: retailers entering this space, like AA. Is taking a “if we build they will come” approach enough or do you have to imbue your sim with some sort of playful corporate culture?
Ansible: Unless anyone else would like to add to this, we can move on to Jeff's question.
Jeff Wakawaka:Yippy! First, I wanted to say hi to all of the panelists and that I'm very excited I got to come see this. I've been talking about it at the office all week and everyone now thinks I'm a freak because I nearly wet myself over a virtual panel discussion on avatar-based marketing.
Zero Grace: See, virtual worlds are compelling.
Jeff Wakawaka:Anyway, I know that both American Apparel and Rivers Run Red, as well as a host of other companies (both virtual and real) that I haven't mentioned, have created branded experiences within Second Life
From an advertiser's perspective, what are the type of quantitative results (specifically with regards to engagement) that I should expect from doing something similar? And what recommendations do each of the panelists have for balancing both an advertising client's interests with maintaining the cultural integrity of Second Life?
Ansible: Fastest panelist typist wins this question ;)
Divo Dapto: I'm podcasting this on www.acrossthesound.net Mitch Till and I are recording a Skype conversation reflecting our thoughts etc
SNOOPYbrown Zamboni:Last question is interesting because many of the groups wanting to get in from the outside aren't interested in the 250,000 "accounts" currently in Second Life, but want to build a space that their existing communities can come into. They don't want to disturb or in many cases even interact w/ an existing culture here that's unique to Second Life with its country metaphor, but that is changing, see the flight to islands. It'll be a flight to networked spaces soon.
Resistance has systematically fallen. It’s been fascinating to watch. I remember the days when you couldn't get an island. Fizik here got the first and some ppl thought the sky was falling! :)
Divo Dapto: YEs !!!
Hamlet Au:I think Second Life has long passed the days where it was a hothouse utopia where any hint of the outside world, especially the corporate for-profit world, causes a giant controversy. Now the challenge is to create cool, lasting, *exciting* experiences--and the companies are competing on an equal level with the best creators in SL.
Cristiano Midnight: As a side note, Fizik went up against me for that island
Boliver Oddfellow:that is THE key if you don’t make your corporate presence here both interactive and immersive so that you provide the end user with a brand positive experience then you are truly missing the boat
Ansible: Goh, you had a comment about spamming, which may be appropriate now?
Goh Mfume:Ah, yes. There are concerns about commercial spam and adverts entering VWs...but it's a bit ironic that spam and adverts are already here...just look at what players have done in SL -- billboards everywhere
Fizik Baskerville: In RL, the real media companies are finding it hard to sustain results via 'billboard advertising
Hempman Richard:Ansible, could we get Ariels's thoughts on this; he's seen a lot of branding stuff in a variety of virtual worlds? Ariel, what about spamlike advertising in virtual worlds?
Fizik Baskerville: I'll step back. Please, someone else answer :)
Ansible: sure, Ariel? … and then Cristiano
Ariel Spoonhammer (Ilya Vedrashko, MIT Advertising Lab): It sucks :) But as long as there's an economic incentive, it is going to be there. Spam is inevitable in any kind of open environment
Glitchy Gumshoe: isn't it just that putting up billboards is a lot cheaper and easier to do then designing environments?
Hamlet Au: That's against the Terms of Service, I believe. It happens on occasion, but the miscreants are kicked.
Ansible: Cristiano? : )
Goh Mfume: It's already here, and companies will have to compete with all the individual entrepreneurs to be heard
SNOOPYbrown Zamboni: …or employ them, Goh.
Cristiano Midnight:To address Jeff's question, as well as the issue of spam...again I think that any RL company that comes into the environment and does not understand it is doomed to fail. Second Life residents especially have been very sensitive to the encroachment of the big bad RL business...not in the forms we see, but in the dreaded form of Coke billboards spread all across SL and plastered on buildings.
Boliver Oddfellow:The real world company that comes in here and strictly runs a billboard campaign will learn very quickly why you don’t alienate the consumer base …it’s suicide
Razor Rinkitink: Look at early web pages with blink tags and crawling marquees. It takes time to learn subtle techniques.
In Kenzo:We're creative people, we can do better than that anyway! Even RL companies use blimps and planes, cars and people to advertise.
Fizik Baskerville: p2p tp killed that worry ;)
SNOOPYbrown Zamboni:Most companies (to generalize) coming in from the outside should have their own private space, an island, and invite people to come to them. Zaps the spam/intrusion problem instantly. I should point out that coke world has more users than Second Life :) Anyone know the numbers off hand?
Hempman Richard: they claim 8 million users. coke msusic
Ansible: if Tony/Zero doesnt...then Google would know :)
Zero Grace: No stats on that.
Cristiano Midnight:Companies that really get SL and understand how to take a more lifestyle approach to their marketing will have far more success than those who just treat SL as another ad buy opportunity
Ansible: if no one wants to weigh in on spamming and such, we can move on to Susi's question.
Fizik Baskerville: Actually, just one thing.
Ansible: yes, Fizik?
Hamlet Au: I believe Spamming is a direct violation of the TOS, but I dare not launch my browser to double-check or my world will crash.
Cristiano Midnight: Wow, someone should tell World of Warcraft they have failed miserably compared to Coke World.
Fizik Baskerville:In real-life, billboards rely on 'footfall' and 'eyeballs' to work, in SL we have no major routes or areas that fit that RL convention. Therefore it really shouldn’t be a problem here, especially since point-to-point teleporting. Done.
Ansible: Thanks for the number, Paul and thanks for the good question, Jeff. Susi?
Susi Spicoli:imho, in-world mark Hempmann, do you think that we will go beyond traditional marketing: participation in product development, open-source like, which makes traditional marketing obsolete to some extent because consumers are designing their own products?
For example, a bank might design (with users)/test their future offering incl branch lay-out, which then already will have a strong in-world following which will spill into the RL.
Finally, you might get some great international ideas fertilization (easy in SL), what if italian customers would give comments and ideas on American Apparel?
Jeff Wakawaka: Thank you guys. I'm now sitting in a puddle of my own urine.
Glitchy Gumshoe: Yeah, has any one company (besides the defeat George Bush guy) ever tried to market anything to the entire SL population?
SNOOPYbrown Zamboni: great question, Susi. I'm interested in Second Life as a test bed for real life products/creations. Fizik's done some of that, Csven in the audience is an expert on that.
Hempman Richard: Don't know if that was directed at me, but the opportunity to "try stuff out" here seems really valuable.
Susi Spicoli: yes, but any others welcome to answer as well
Hempman Richard: Csven, you still here?
Ansible: Csven, if other panelists dont want to tackle this one?
Csven Concord: Sure. I think we'll see some of that happen. There's a recent entry on the Mass Customization blog that gets to some things being tried in Europe, but I think that most people aren't aware of how much tedious stuff goes into products.
Susi Spicoli: I am in London, perhaps more interested in Europe in that.
Csven Concord: … and so there will always be some "professional" stuff that isn't really done in a collaborative way, but mostly because no one wants to do it!
Susi Spicoli: that's what peple said before linux and the success of opene source
SNOOPYbrown Zamboni: coming up on the xbox 360, as i understand it you'll be able to design your nike sneakers in a basketball game using the id system, then have a real pair shipped to you
Csven Concord:I have a source at Nike, and when they first introduced their shoes in NBA 2k6, the word was that it would be linked - eventually - to the website. Not seen it yet, but I expect it'll soon happen.
Hempman Richard:that goes back to my hobby horse -- does the fact that we're avatars allow US to try stuff out that we might not try in real life and get used to it and then buy the product in real life?
SNOOPYbrown Zamboni:stylehive has some of that, virtual-real coupling of merchandise. Oh, never mind me, I'm just a futurist ;)
Fizik Baskerville hugs the Snoop
Ansible: No pdas, please. ;)
Csven Concord: the difference between Linux and designing the boring, legally necessary font on an iron are a ways apart, imo
SNOOPYbrown Zamboni: Totally, Hempman. I love yr idea that avatars double the consumer but... you can also have multiple avatars, all trying out different avenues of self expression.
Razor Rinkitink: We have certainly talked about trying things in SL that would be difficult to test in RL. Store layouts and even clothing concepts would be interesting to test.
SNOOPYbrown Zamboni: no doubt, razor
Razor Rinkitink:But it would be important to remember that the SL audience is rather different from the RL at-large. So how much of that could feed back into RL is not clear.
FizikBaskerville: we're working with a lot of our clients in SL doing exactly that, Raz
SNOOPYbrown Zamboni: but when yr using sl to model, it doesn't matter who's here now, right? You just use it to sketch and design and then show it to ppl, in sl or out
Hamlet Au: The challenge with testing real life designs is presenting it in a way that's fun, a kind of game. Otherwise, people will get bored and fly (literally!) off in search of something that is fun.
SNOOPYbrown Zamboni: Yes and no, Hamlet. It depends on if they're shopping for their real life selves, in which case they're going to want things that would, erm, "fly" in the real world and a realistic avatar to boot.
One thing I'm very interested in is the recreation of real life in VWs..an avatar that reflects your appearance, when you want that.. for dating, trying things on, doing business, etc.
Hamlet Au: I don’t know, SNOOP, I think even then the constraints (or freedoms) of the world will impose themselves. For example, has anyone here ever tried walking, just walking, through an SL building? It gets frustrating. You get stuck in doorways. You eventually just want to fly or teleport to wherever you were headed, most times.
SNOOPYbrown Zamboni: that's because Second Life is limited at the moment! Have you driven down the streets of grand theft auto? Runs like a breeze. Oh, and of course point-to-point teleport, but it'll get easier to run around.
Ansible: You're ok running in SL too, as long as the building space is large enough. Maybe it's a matter of better designing the space
Hamlet Au: Yeah, but why run when you can *fly*?
SNOOPYbrown Zamboni: We'll lose this dream molasses feeling, so you’re on the same level with people when that makes sense. It's not either/or at all, but the realistic stuff is short changed here. Can't even choose your name in Second Life at the moment. A lot of people want that
Hamlet Au: For that matter, why have a meeting where we're sitting around in chairs when we could be *dancing* on top an active volcano? Bandwidth is the main issue, but really, that's where I think we should be heading with these spaces. Turn business, education, and marketing into fun.
Ansible: I'll let you organize that, Hamlet ;)
SNOOPYbrown Zamboni: we'll have it all, man.
Hamlet Au: It's a deal!
In Kenzo: YIFFY! ^.^
SNOOPYbrown Zamboni: But reality has a gravity too and I think it's under represented currently. Personal feeling.
Ansible: *prods Snoopy to keep on topic*
SNOOPYbrown Zamboni: i thnk it is on topic, but that's ok ;)
Ansible: Objection overruled ;) Moving on, please. If no one else wants to add to the last question, Jangles...your question please? :)
Jangles Junot (Neville Hobson, www.neville.hobson.com): Thanks Ansible. This is quite an experience. So a question for Razor...If you could buy apparel in the AA store here and get it in the real world, that would be interetsing...is that in your thinking?
Razor Rinkitink: It could go that way, but I'm not sure that a buying experience in SL connected to RL is ideal.
Jangles Junot: I'm thinking of the impulse. you see something here and you want to buy it... so you order here rather than go to a browser and go to the website.
Razor Rinkitink: I'm expecting that people will be curious enough to go out and see our stores and our online store for those types of transactions.
Jangles Junot: Yes, I'm thinking of that relationship. Another facet to building it.
SNOOPYbrown Zamboni: And razor, please please please get some posters of sexy avatars up in real-life AA stores and advertising ;)
Razor Rinkitink: I really do like that idea
Jangles Junot: Cool! Thanks.
Ansible: :) If Jan is happy, let's move on to Gx's question.
Csven Concord: If I may…
Ansible: Oops, go ahead Csven :)
Csven Concord: I think you'll see that happen fairly soon. While we're here in SL...on the "low end". There is quite a lot happening on the high end, which is where is PLM software resides
Fizik Baskerville: Can I give you and example, of how this happened already in SL?
Cristiano Midnight: It appears that the main grid has been attacked and the system may be taken down, so this island may go down as well soon
Zamboni: blog.rebang.com to pimp sven. it's good stuff
Ansible: Uh oh...Path...any news on that?
Hamlet Au: Right now, Cris? A grid attack?
Hempman Richard: Just when the party 's starting to heat up...?
SNOOPYbrown Zamboni: to the bat cave!
Pathfinder Linden: hmmm... let me see what's going on
Cristiano Midnight: Yes, and the web site lists the grid as down
Csven Concord: *gets camera out*
Cristiano Midnight: people cannot sign in, and teleports are not working
Ansible: Thank you, Path. Until we're taken offline, let's proceed as planned :) Thanks for the note, Cristiano :) Gx?
Razor Rinkitink:Before the world ends... anyone who feels like checking out our RL store, please visit: http://store.americanapparel.net ... and while you're at it, pop in the promo code BERKMAN and you'll get 15% off for the next couple of days.
SNOOPYbrown Zamboni: Sweet :)
Komuso Tokugawa: Now that's marketing to avatars!
Glitchy Gumshoe: Nice
Ansible: Very smooth ;)
SNOOPYbrown Zamboni: Anyway, I can use that at the real life AA down the block from me? :)
Hamlet Au:It's worth noting that grid-attacks like this are relatively rare but definitely worth considering in relation to how you create your marketing experience.
Razor Rinkitink: Only on the web site Snoop
Ansible: Gxeremio seems to have crashed. Gideon, your question then?
Gideon Television: I think real life/second life purchase linking in the other direction is more likely - I buy an AA clothing article in RL and then can wear it in SL too
SNOOPYbrown Zamboni: stylehive is doing buy in Second Life, get the real stylehive.com, I think.
Jangles Junot: AA could have something ID'd for SL which you in the RW. Cachet.
SNOOPYbrown Zamboni: don't know the sim, might be stylehive :)
Csven Concord: that's actually why I chose the term "rebang" back in 2000 - real products moving into vr. not really the other way, but i agree
Jeska Linden: Hello Second Life Residents - we are currently experiencing a database problem and are working on fixing it. Please refrain from making transactions, as they will most likely fail. Thank you for your patience.
Hamlet Au: It's on my blog, click the "New World Slurl" tag on the left.
Razor Rinkitink: AA will do a discount in July off any item purchased SL... on that same item in RL.
Pathfinder Linden: There, I trust everyone saw that message from Jeska :)
Hempman Richard: marketing marketing!!!
SNOOPYbrown Zamboni: That's sharp, Razor, good stuff.
Razor Rinkitink: Going the other way is more... complicated. But could be done.
Csven Concord: …for now
Cristiano Midnight: can we also get an autographed picture of Aimee Weber?
Ansible: Thanks, Path.
Ariel Spoonhammer: Now, if I am a guy in Second Life, can I get a discount on something other than a pink dress? :)
Razor Rinkitink: Pink shorts?
Hamlet Au: Hey, if he's gonna plug his bizness, I will too. Discount on advertising on Federated Media blogs including New World Notes now, if you pay in L$. Visit the official FM advertising office in Shipley for the latest rate card. :)
Ansible: No more plugs, please. Let's stay on topic.
Hempman Richard: STOP!!! *smile*
Csven Concord: *and here we see "Marketing to Avatars Gone Bad"
SNOOPYbrown Zamboni:Razor, if you sell aa stuff through slboutique etc. you could couple them easily. You'd have the virtual delivered to you atomatically, but I digress. SLEdex, love it :)
Ansible: Paul isn’t very graceful. I’m more graceful, but i also have an island eject button ;)
Razor Rinkitink: Sorry - I didn't mean to be plugging. Not intended. Just trying to talk about plans that may be of interest.
Fizik Baskerville: Is there a question?
Ansible: If Gideon doesn’t have his ready, we can ask Ariel to speak up.
Ariel Spoonhammer: Thank you. A barrage of questions to Razor: How did the SL store get approved internally within AA? Why did you opt to sell clothes for what in SL is a significant amount of money instead of giving them away?
Do you plan to advertise your store both in RL and SL? Do you think SL is the kind of place where AA's "risque" ad strategy can go even more "risque"? And if you can't answer all, please pick any :)
Csven Concord: Nice job
Hempman Richard: Fascinating questions!
Razor Rinkitink: I remember when I pitched the idea to the creative team here - the people who handle our print and traditional marketing - they were totally perplexed and a little scared.
they were kind enough to give me the benefit of the doubt. And now they are very excited about the whole thing. It's been fun to see the come around.
It's especially fun to see everyone creating SL accounts for the first time - the room erupts in giggles!
SNOOPYbrown Zamboni: That's great :) Is your C.E.O. in here?
Hamlet Au: Razor, how's the first hour experience been for your folks? Far as getting used to the interface?
Cristiano Midnight:I think, speaking as a consumer, the clothing at the AA store is in line with pricing in SL, especially given the fact that you get the same item in about 20 colors
Razor Rinkitink: Our CEO, Dov Charney, is not on SL... yet
In Kenzo: We do SL salons in LA razor, next week downtown for newbies.
RazorRinkitink: The price is really just a token sum.
Ariel Spoonhammer: Re: pricing.... $350 seems pricey compared to in-world income
Cristiano Midnight: I think it was important for you to not just give the clothes away though, for them to have some perceived value
Razor Rinkitink: Yes, indeed. If they were giveaways they would have no value.
Hempman Richard: Razor, can you choose one more of Ariel's questions?
Ariel Spoonhammer: so we are back to the Hempman's question is who drives the purchase :)
Razor Rinkitink: scrolling-up...About the ads..Can we be more risky?
I think we need to be ourselves no matter where we are. It would be odd if we went R-rated in SL and I think it would not make sense.
Cristiano Midnight: I would say you are already pretty close to that, without crossing the line into full on soft porn
Razor Rinkitink: Yes (chuckles) many would say that. And some people don't like that. I appreciate that perspective. We're not for everyone.
Ariel Spoonhammer: the questions was whether SL boundaries are wider than RL's :) If there's something in SL that you can't do in RL…
Cristiano Midnight: I'm not saying I mind it, I just don't think it can get much more risque without crossing a line that wouldn't serve you well
SNOOPYbrown Zamboni: yah, you could totally capitalized on the AILF phenomenon. the avatar I'd like to.... have lunch with ;)
Hamlet Au:I would even encourage more raciness, myself, which is, after all, kind of a roleplaying experience in itself. People want fashions that are a step or two (or three, or four hundred) from what they usually wear in real life. Think American Apparel in Amsterdam, would be my advice. :)
SNOOPYbrown Zamboni: no one's talked about virtual sex appeal here yet, when that's such a big thing in real life
Razor Rinkitink: The boundaries are much broader and many things are possible, but I'm talking about maintaining a personality. Keeping the brand at the center regardless of the medium.
Ariel Spoonhammer: great. thanks a lot , raz.
Ansible: :) Thanks, Ariel. Great questions, indeed and nice of you to sport an AA SL dress to this event.
Cristiano Midnight: Yes, Starbucks is Starbucks - you don't open up an adult version in SL called Starfucks if you are trying to maintain the brand
Razor Rinkitink: We are already in Amsterdam... and no brownies or ladies for hire.
Ansible: last question for today belongs to In Kenzo, before our brains melt :)
Hamlet Au: :)
In Kenzo: good timing too, i have a conference call in 15 minutes with a potential new partner. They know NOTHING of SL
Hempman Richard: or before hamlet dances on the table again.
Hamlet Au: DON'T TEMPT ME!
In Kenzo: my question regards how to explain the possibilities here in just a few words on a phone call....
Hempman Richard: great question!
Ansible: Anyone in particular you'd like to tackle that question, In?
Csven Concord: One word: data
In Kenzo: Anyone who wants it
Ansible: The stage is free : )
Cristiano Midnight: I would like to tackle it
Hempman Richard: great answer...
Ansible: Go ahead, Cristiano
Hamlet Au: "Second Life is MySpace meets YouTube meets Flickr meets World of Warcraft. Get on now or be left in the dust of Internet history."
Razor Rinkitink: You'll need to send them some screenshots at the very least, becuase any description you can dream-up will fall short.
Cristiano Midnight: I think the two most compelling things that really show the potential of SL quickly are screen shots and video. I know that Linden Lab has often used Snapzilla to show off what SL is, because the pictures are often very evocative. I don't think you can explain SL to someone really, other than in very broad strokes, or in sort of obtuse ways. However, showing my mother Snapzilla, she understood what SL is, at least to a degree to which she could wrap her brain around it.
SNOOPYbrown Zamboni: "like an open-ended video game with no game, where you can build anything and connect to the web"
Hempman Richard: how do you show them that there is something conceptually interesting before they freak out on the photos?
Boliver Oddfellow: all I say is log in and see
Komuso Tokugawa: ..but with a very small user base of [insert Second Life demographics here]?
In Kenzo: I have extensive archives and some machinima up to get things started. cannot send photos right now; still on lockdown here. We produced 6 shorts last month. It’s amazingly fast here. we're quickly ramping up for broadcast.
Cristiano Midnight: The sheer amount of video being created is also very compelling. The machinima movement is alive and well in SL.
Razor Rinkitink: Press that “Snapshots” key and save some nice snapshots to the HD
Csven Concord: I think one of the things people really don't get is the human aspect of it when i explain that to someone.
Cristiano Midnight: I would say that the initial user experience is so bad that just saying "try SL" is not a compelling way to get someone to envision it
SNOOPYbrown Zamboni: Ditto, Csven. At first, people think you actually have to pretend the whole time :)
Csven Concord: I ask them if they've ever seen on the News a story with a 911 call and if they felt ... touched or affected by the voice. That's television - a passive medium - giving the viewer something less connected to them than what they'll have in here. It's difficult to comprehend, but seeing how we react to other "virtual" things helps.
Razor Rinkitink: What a potential customer really wants to see and hear is a group of users around the computer who have never seen it before. The excitement it produces is amazing. As I sit here people have been gathering around with slack-jaws.
Hamlet Au: Another shorthand I use: "It's like playing Legos(tm) with hundreds of thousands of people all over the world."
In Kenzo: I think SL has the potential to bridge out to TV audiences, to convert them into active participants.
Cristiano Midnight: Very naughty Legos ™.
O.K. everybody, I have to bounce out. Thank you for inviting me. If anyone wants to take my chair, do it to it! Now I will seamlessly transition from one reality to another...
Hamlet Au: Yes, Legos on acid.
Komuso Tokugawa: Is there any current data on SL demographics?
Hempman Richard: we survived the SL holocaust on Berkman Island!
Ansible:Well, before anyone else leaves, I'd like to thank all of you for participating and for putting up with my slightly dictatorial moderating. I think it's slightly needed otherwise the discussion spirals out of control.
Robbie Kiama: Thanks a lot everybody - was wonderful.
Hempman Richard: Ditto.
Ariel Spoonhammer: Thank you
Cristiano Midnight: Yes, thank you, this has been a lot of fun.
Csven Concord: Good weekend, all.
SNOOPYbrown Zamboni: Thanks, Ansible, Ariel.
Hempman Richard: Ansible, you're the best!
Susi Spicoli: thanks Ansible. this was great. over to Philip Lindens's speech
Ansible: I feel this has involved the audience as well as the panelists and I encourage you to swap friend cards :)
Pathfinder Linden: outstanding job, Ansible. and great discussion!
Sky Seattle: Thanks to all panelists and audience members with great questions. Illuminating!
SNOOPYbrown Zamboni: later second life
Ansible: …and come back to Berkman for other great events soon :)
Hamlet Au: Thanks for being a marvelous host, Ansible.
Ansible: :) see you all soon :)
SNOOPYbrown Zamboni: *zoop*
Cristiano Midnight: yes thank you for everything, Ansible
Hamlet Au: I'll be blogging this on Monday if all goes well. Check nwn.blogs.com. :)