OMD Digital has launched an in-game advertising campaign targeting the highly sought-after youth market in Saudi Arabia. This new offering from OMD Digital, a company of the Omnicom Media Group, is the latest in its expanding portfolio of digital advertising services.
With this service, companies will now have the opportunity to promote their brands in popular games through pre-defined billboards, such as virtual banners, street signs and other outdoor advertising spaces, adding a touch of reality to virtual worlds.
For its initial project, OMD Digital bought 250,000 impressions over two months in Saudi homes, across major X-Box and PC titles, including Burnout (X-Box 360), Guitar Hero (PC and X-Box 360), Tony Hawk's Wasteland (PC and X Box 360), NFS Pro Street (PC and X-Box 360), Pro Evolution Soccer (PC and X-Box 360). The ads are downloaded onto new-generation game consoles and PCs linked to the internet. This is the first time this technology has been deployed in the region and in doing so, OMD Digital has created a welcome new revenue stream for game developers who face high levels of piracy in the Middle East.
"This is a hugely exciting new adventure," said Dimitri Metaxas, group director of OMD Digital. "Gaming is a very significant hobby for the Saudi youth, both males and females, and as such presents vast opportunities for brands to play a role in this activity and capitalise on their target audience's interest. We are thrilled to be the first agency to develop such an operation in the Arab world." He said in-gaming also provides a great platform for clients who want to differentiate themselves from their competition.
Another part of the new offering is mobile advertising. With record-high penetration levels and a large proportion of handsets in the region featuring the latest technologies, mobile phones are a valuable media channel for advertisers. OMD Digital is working on services covering mobile search, mobile social networking and location-based services.
To manage this foray into in-gaming and mobile advertising, OMD Digital has recruited Philip Schilling as Director of Planning. He has worked in Japan, US, Belgium, Germany and Dubai, bringing with him a valuable online and digital business experience. Demonstrating his innovation credentials, Schilling co-founded a company in Munich, the first online music download store before iTunes was set up.
"Philip added yet another string to our bow," Metaxas said. "Both on the personal and technical level, he fits very well with our team and our client portfolio. He also comes at a time when web 2.0 is seriously taking hold in the region with advertisers looking for more and more innovative solutions."
"There can be no doubt that the future is digital and that the region is set on an exciting course," said Schilling. "The Middle East is fast closing the gap with the West and it's a privilege to be a part of this. I'm particularly looking forward to working with the team at OMD Digital, who have amply demonstrated their ability to innovate and raise the bar here."
This couldn't have more fully illustrated than by OMD Digital's success at the recent Dubai Lynx Awards, winning two awards, including one gold, for its work
on the Barclays Bank and Pepsi accounts in the Best Use of the internet/New Media category.