In a previous post for Headlightblog.com, I covered Citroën’s plans to build a supercar that was originally designed for Polyphony Digital’s Gran Turismo 5 Prologue videogame. Recently, Mercedes-Benz announced that its SLS AMG supercar will be featured in Gran Turismo 5 (GT5), an expansion on Prologue that is scheduled for release in March 2010. GT5 is also the first of the main numbered series to be developed for the Sony PlayStation 3.
For the handful of you who don’t already know about it, the 2011 SLS is AMG’s first dedicated project. It features a 6.2-liter V8 engine that produces 563 SAE net horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque for 0-to-100-kph (0-to-62-mph) acceleration of 3.8 seconds and an (electronically controlled) maximum speed of 197 mph. The SLS is the first AMG to use a new dual-clutch transmission, the Transaxle AMG SPEEDSHIFT DCT 7-Speed Sport Transmission, that was developed in conjunction with Getrag. Fitted out with retro-inspired gullwing doors, the SLS is wrapped in an all-aluminum (almost) package.
The Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG, as featured in Gran Turismo 5 for PlayStation 3
In laymen’s terms, the SLS AMG is both an incredibly high-performing vehicle, even compared to other supercars, and a beauty in terms of design. In fact, I could go as far as to say that it’s probably the most exciting car in the world right now. Thus, it’s no surprise that Kazunori Yamauchi, the creator and producer of the Gran Turismo series, has chosen the SLS AMG to be the highlight of GT5. Likewise, this is a great opportunity for Mercedes-Benz to showcase one of its greatest achievements to date and continue building on its brand and image.
Thanks to GT5’s realistic gaming engine, the SLS AMG will be just as breathtaking in the game as it is in real life, both from an aesthetic aspect as well as performance. Game designers use a physics calculation model so when you take the parameters of a car and enter it into the model, it will drive like that particular vehicle in the game. In order to develop such a realistic simulation of this great supercar, Yamauchi personally tested the SLS AMG on the Nordschleife circuit.
“The performance of the SLS AMG is unbelievable. Despite the Nordschleife being an extremely undulating track, the gullwing remains extremely stable. Driving this unique super sports car in Gran Turismo 5 will be a fantastic experience,” explained Yamauchi in a released statement.
Opportunity to increase brand awareness
As technology improves our ability to create realistic and engaging interactive experiences, the gap between virtual and reality is gradually diminishing. In-game advertising (IGA) is already an obvious strategic tactic that pays great dividends for brand awareness, especially to capture the much sought after 18-34 male demographic. In fact, the global IGA market is estimated to reach $1 billion by 2014.
According to data collected from Interpret Research and Nielsen Research, and posted on the Microsoft Advertising Blog:
- Average brand recommendation lift scores are currently 29 percent ahead of the 2008 norms
- 72 percent of gamers recall seeing ads for brands in-game — a 20 percent increase in average ad recall from a year ago
- 65 percent of gamers agree that in-game ads stand out more compared to other forms of advertising (online, print, TV), an 18 percent increase from 2008
Thus, by partnering with Polyphony Digital and Sony, Mercedes-Benz has made a great decision to capitalize on the opportunity to leverage the successful Gran Turismo brand to further invest in IGA. And not just by a simple brand placement, but the full interactive experience. Gamers and car enthusiasts alike can essentially drive cars such as the SLS AMG almost as if they were test driving them in real life.
Sure, we can have a branded microsite that allows future car owners to test-drive specific models possibly using a similar gaming engine. Instead, how about giving users the ability to build a vehicle that can then be shared across their social networks, or imported into games such as Gran Turismo 5 for the world to download, play around with and compare side-by-side with other cars? All the while improving brand stickiness, engaging your target customers and even associating a fun aspect to the whole experience.
- Virtual Sports Car to be Built by Citroën; Headlightblog.com, 7.31.09
- Gran Turismo site
- Mercedes-Benz gullwing featured in new Gran Turismo® game for PlayStation®3 system; Daimler Global Media Site, 9.25.09
- Mercedes-Benz.tv: SLS AMG featured in Gran Turismo 5; MercedesBenzTV channel on YouTube, 9.24.09
- Massive: In-Game Ads Thriving; Gamasutra, 10.09.09
- In-Game Advertising “Facts are Stubborn Things…”; Microsoft Advertising Blog, 10.05.09
2010 SLS AMG in Gran Turismo 5 image appears courtesy of Daimbler Global Media.