Wagner James Au of GigaOM has a fascinating look at why, despite the endless hype, marketing in Second Life hasn’t proven to be effective yet. This is a good companion piece to a link I posted yesterday that provides some practical reasons to be skeptical of Second Life’s marketing potential (put me in the big time skeptic category).

Regardless of your personal feelings about Second Life, I think Au’s criticism of the execution of Second Life marketing efforts thusfar is illuminating:

To play in Second Life, corporations must first come to a humbling realization: in the context of the fantastic, their brands as they exist in the real world are boring, banal, and unimaginative. Car companies are trying to compete with college kids who turn a virtual automotive showroom into a 24/7 hiphop dance party, and create lovingly designed muscle cars that fly, and auction off for $2000 in real dollars at charity auctions.

Faced with such talented competition, smart marketers should concede defeat, and hire these college kids and housewives to create concept designs and prototypes that re-imagine their brands merged to existing SL-based brands which have already proved themselves in a world of infinite possibility. Or as the Komjuniti study suggests, they can keep building sterile shopping malls, and continue wondering why Residents prefer nude dance parties, giant frogs singing alt-folk rock, and samurai deathmatches– and often, all three at the same time.

I think the same thesis applies to MySpace or Youtube or any of the new so called “social” marketing channels. Bringing an old mindset to a new medium doesn’t accomplish anything. Your only chance of having real and sustained success is if the mindset shifts as well.

About the Author
Todd Zeigler
Todd Zeigler serves as the Brick Factory’s chief strategist and oversees the operations of the firm. In his sixteen year career in digital, he has planned and implemented campaigns for clients including the Pickens Plan, International Youth Foundation, Panthera, Edison Electric Institute, and the American Chemistry Council. Todd develops ambitious online advocacy programs, manages crises, implements online marketing strategies, and develops custom applications and software. He is bad at golf though.