H&M & Brand Engagement

Fashion retailer H&M is translating its brand placement inside “The Sims 2” game into a real world collaboration by featuring a piece of clothing designed in an in-game competition in several hundred real stores around the world.

Simhm051508“It really is the ultimate in brand engagement,” Steve Seabolt, VP-global brand development for “The Sims,” an Electronic Arts label game toldAdvertising Age. “It really is a way to bring a product or a service into your virtual life, become familiar with it, play with it and, hopefully, incorporate it into your real life.”

And while H&M takes out of the game, furniture retailer Ikea is heading in by offering a content pack featuring virtual versions of 60 of Ikea’s well-know products. “For Ikea, ‘The Sims 2′ represents a media channel,” Marty Marston, Ikea’s U.S. commercial PR manager, told Advertising Age. “Ikea sees this as a great channel to reach the young and the young at heart to decorate their ‘Sims’ worlds with Ikea products in a fun and creative way.”

Simikea051508Games have become fertile ground for brand integration where players can utilize real world brands in their game environment and, brands hope, translate that association into real world commerce.

“At the end of the day, what I would hope is that having players interact with these virtual items does inspire them to go to the store and want to have the item in real life,” Seabolt said.