They say there is no such thing as an original idea.
In the Lab’s case, there appears to be no such thing as an original marketing campaign.
Three years ago, they ran a campaign “Become Your Avatar“, asking people to “star” in ads which put them up with their avatar in an attempt to draw-in new users.
It was a campaign which was – both within and without SL – somewhat ridiculed. The message itself, to the uninitiated, appeared confusing and ultimately and the whole thing appeared to be something of a flop in most people’s eyes.
Nevertheless, that didn’t stop the Lab trying it again in late 2011 – and it received about as much “positive” feedback from observers at the time as the original.
Now in fairness, we don’t really have any way of gauging how well either campaign actually did; they could actually have done remarkably well, despite the jaundiced eye many of us (myself included) cast over them.
Well, guess what? The Lab are looking to run it a third time, and are calling for people willing to “star” alongside their avatar in a new campaign to be launched in the near future.
The announcement reads in part:
We are now casting both humans and their avatars for a new promotional campaign that will be featured on SecondLife.com and across the web.
For this campaign, we’re looking for people who are comfortable revealing their “human side” alongside their avatars in Second Life, like in the image above. Specifically, we are looking for those whose avatars do not physically resemble their owners.
This promotion aims to spotlight the diverse and creative communities in Second Life, so please apply if you’d like to share your passion for Second Life with the world!
To be considered, please fill out this application form by 11:59 PM Pacific on Wednesday, May 1, 2013. All submissions will be reviewed by the creative production team for the campaign, but no personal information provided will be disclosed publicly unless you are selected and specifically consent to participate.
We look forward to hearing from you!
I’m not sure what to make of this – other than the fact I won’t be applying. As noted above, just how well the original and follow-up campaigns did is hard to say; we just don’t get enough data on sign-ups and retained users nowadays to make a realistic assessment. This means it is easy to err on the “not very” side of the success equation.
For my part, however, I just wish that someone at the Lab would put more thought into finding something that is fresh and original and which might find broad-range appeal rather than constantly re-running the same ideas. The talent pool within SL is as deep as it is broad, and there would seem to be plenty of opportunities for the Lab to work more collaboratively with users to promote the platform than this approach, as I’ve mentioned myself in the past and also more recently.
While “tried and trusted” may appear to be the safe / easy / assured option for the Lab, it does tend to come with a problem beyond its perceived success. A problem I would hope the Lab take time to note.
Many out in the world – gamers, pundits, et al, already regard Second Life as one of “dead”, “dying” or “past it and not worth the effort. In constantly re-treading the same ol’, same ol’ by way of marketing efforts, the Lab is actually doing very little to dispel such views.
Still, if you feel like having a go – don’t forget the application form and the closing date of 23:59 SLT on Wednesday, May 1st.