A Social Medium

I’m still close with some of the friends I grew up with. We ended going our separate ways, but we still like to get together to save the world every now then. Saving the world is actually only one of the ways we stay in touch (Overwatch). Sometimes we rob banks together (Payday 2). Last weekend I was shot down flying my buddy around in a bi-plane over the Egyptian desert (Battlefield 1). While the specifics of the activity may vary, these escapades almost always include my old friends and I working together to achieve something.

The Evolution of the Game Console

Online video gaming isn’t usually included in the social media discussion, however I find gaming to be (more often than not) the social highlight of my week. Sound lame? Think of it as being like Facebook, except you get to shoot stuff with your friends.

But game consoles have evolved beyond first-person shooters in your parents’ basement. They’ve become the entertainment hub in the center of every millennial’s living room. On your Xbox or PlayStation, you can Skype your mom, listen to Pandora, and you’re a voice command away from streaming content on Netflix, HBO, or ESPN. Below, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella introduces Cortana for Xbox One, a virtual assistant that helps users, turn on their tv, lower the volume, and access all their content.

TV Gets Smarter

The average American watches 4.3 hours of TV a day, and the average ad is a broadly targeted and very expensive 30s piece of noise. Game consoles give advertisers an opportunity to a create a much more relevant and engaging (but still expensive) experience in the living room.

Take this ad by Axe for example. What started as a subtle tile tucked away in my Xbox’s dashboard ended with me ready to buy what Axe was selling.

I guarantee that a combination of my age, my gender, and my credit card purchase history helped inform Axe’s decision to target me in their recent marketing push aimed at changing consumers’ “junior-high” perception of the brand.

“Masculinity today is going through seismic changes. More than ever, guys are rejecting rigid male stereotypes,” says Matthew McCarthy, senior director of Axe and men’s grooming at Unilever. “We’ve been part of guys’ lives for decades, and Axe champions real guys and the unique traits that make them attractive to the world around them.”

What they didn’t know, however is that I shaved my head a few weeks ago and I am officially out of the market for styling products at the moment.

With that said, I give Axe props for creating such a visual experience on a relatively new platform. The videos were great, and the product pages were well-designed. The “Find Your Magic” video game was about as boring as it was unimaginative, but at least they tried. Overall, a “click” turned into something much more valuable for Axe. They earned my respect. My girlfriend, however, still can’t take Axe seriously.
When I have hair again, I think I might give them another chance. Nice work, 72andSunny.

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