You’ve likely heard of and seen in-game videogame advertising before, but probably never the legitimate endorsement of a virtual athlete, by a company worth billions, no less.
Two days ago, Coca Cola published a video on its YouTube channel starring Alex Hunter, the fictional star of FIFA18’s game mode ‘The Journey’, in a modern recreation of one of the company’s most famous ads.
Though ads like this have appeared before, never before has a videogame character either sought or obtained the sponsorship of Coca Cola, which only typically sponsors real athletes. It even goes further than a simple ad; Alex Hunter signs an actual endorsement with the company in-game, recreating the scene in a moment the player can go behind the scenes of.
The ad itself is a recreation of the “Hey Kid, Catch!” ad, which first aired in 1979. You might not recognize the name, or even have seen the original ad before, but you’ve probably seen parodies of it, which have appeared even in hit comedy series like Family Guy and Futurama.
The endorsement is significant in that it acknowledges the in-game space as a potential market. It’s not the first instance of in-game advertising, but it’s a notable one, in that it places real and virtual athletes on a similar level of desirability for these companies.
Coca Cola seems fairly excited for the venture, as the description for its YouTube ad welcomes Alex Hunter to the “Coca Cola family.”
Whether this recent venture excites you or terrifies you, it may be that there is more to come in the future.
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