Disney executives are readying a series of free 'advergaming' campaigns, including a major online game, to promote Disneyland’s 50th anniversary this year. The company will be making use of both Web and retail video games featuring prominent advertising messages promoting Disneyland.
In particular, the company will begin its eighteen month global campaign on May 5th, with a free online multiplayer game called Virtual Magic Kingdom
, which will include virtual versions of Disney’s five global resorts and eleven theme parks.
The game will be aimed at tweens (eight to twelve year olds) and young teens, with president of Walt Disney Parks & Resorts, Jay Rasulo, stating that “We hope it becomes a real hangout” for the target market. According to online reports, visitors to Virtual Magic Kingdom
will be able to chat, create their own avatars, and earn points that will be redeemable for merchandising at the real Disney parks.
Advergaming is becoming particularly popular with companies who are having trouble reaching audiences via traditional routes, with Forrest Research predicting that advergaming will become a $1 billion business this year.