The Army's Looking For A Few Good Online Gamers

The Army's Looking For A Few Good Online Gamers
April 12th, 2007  
Team Infidel

Topic: The Army's Looking For A Few Good Online Gamers

The Army's Looking For A Few Good Online Gamers
USA Today
April 12, 2007
Pg. 7B

$2 Million Sponsorship Of Gaming Website Has Recruitment In Mind
By Theresa Howard, USA Today
NEW YORK The U.S. Army is about to invade the online gaming community with an estimated $2 million sponsorship deal with the Global Gaming League website.
Starting in June, the Army will sponsor a "national gaming" area as a way to tap into the site's 9.2 million players per month of everything from shooter games to pro baseball. It hopes to find candidates for recruitment among the 17- to 24-year-old males who are 80% of the gamers on the site young men hard to reach with advertising.
"The consumer model for traditional media is changing," says Gary Bishop, who oversees Army marketing and advertising. "We're grappling with the challenge of how do we better use new media to tell the Army story. Online is probably the best way."
GGL is a gaming community site that blends game news and play. Founder Ted Owen describes it as "ESPN meets MySpace for gamers. Video gaming is a culture. The Army has been a very forward thinker. They get it."
It joins other advertisers who increasingly see gaming sites and in-game product placement as a cost-effective medium. In-game ad revenue was projected to reach $164 million in the USA last year and is expected to top $732 million by 2009, according to consumer tech researcher The Yankee Group.
Players in the national gaming area can compete for prizes and rankings in 15 games. They then can move into the top rung of competition with the service's America's Army video game, introduced in 2002. Top players will face off in a monthly Elite Forces tournament. Besides winning video games, top players may win a chance to try out the Army's sophisticated computer simulations of real combat situations.
"We're taking the idea of military gaming and having the Army leverage an existing environment to find potential candidates for recruits," says Reuben Hendell, CEO of MRM Worldwide, the agency that will create the specialized games section.
Players can opt-in to receive Army information when they register for the games. "Once their hand is raised, we'll pursue it," says Anders Ekman, an executive vice president with MRM. "There's a pretty hefty (goal for leads) associated with this."
While the Army has met its monthly recruitment goals through traditional media during the Iraq war, Bishop says the gaming deal presents an opportunity "to tell the Army story. It's not all about combat. Being in the Army is about driving trucks, welding, nurses and computers. If we have an opportunity to tell the Army story, we may have better influence."

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