In launching The Drax Files recently, Draxtor Despres has caused some bloggers to re-open the question of promoting of Second Life through the use of machinima, with Ciaran Laval in particular asking could LL follow Draxtor’s lead and can resident-made machinima be used to promote Second Life?
These questions were actually the focus of some thought on my part back in 2011, when – having been prompted by a tweet from Crap Mariner, I mused on advertising SL: the machinima effect, and it seems worthwhile both revisiting those thoughts and updating them with a few further ideas and thoughts.
The video that prompted my original post on the subject may not be focused on Second Life, but it is ample proof of how machinima can be used to promote a product. What’s more it is fun.
Back in 2011, it prompted Crap to tweet: Linden Lab needs to make some ads like this for Second Life – something which caused me to reply: Or #LL should work with the machinima folk for suitable ads: say a competition; top 3 promoted on YT, SL.com, etc., which inturn prompted my original post on this idea,
Today, as Ciaran points out, and as I’ve covered for the last few years in this blog (albeit haphazardly), the University of Western Australia holds an annual MachinimUWA Challenge, which this year sees a prize pool of L$1.1 million for machinima makers submitting entries on the theme of “Reflections”.
What makes MachinimUWA particularly relevant to this discussion is that not only does it showcase machinima as an art form, it actually promotes the University of Western Australia. The promotion may actually be very low-key, and a somewhat secondary consideration in terms of storytelling for those entering the competition, but it is there. This year, for example, entrants are required to film in “At least one of the 3 major spaces of Reflection at UWA … (The Reflection Pond, The Sunken Gardens, The Somerville Auditorium).” With the rules going on to note that entrants “may choose to film in any other area of the campus … or … include all 3 locations.” Thus, the UWA’s in-world facilities form the nucleus of the competition in terms of providing the backdrop for whatever stories entrants opt to tell.