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Advantages and Dangers of mentioning another product name in advertising

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I would like to discuss the advantages and dangers that can come with the use of another company product name on your advertising campaign...

Lets say that one of your games is inspired on another one, and that game quite more popular... it may bring great results to mention the background behind your game and what it is inspired on, right?

But at the same time I can see how you may be violating copyright or some other laws here, so youre probably not allowed to do this on your official advertising campaign.

Maybe the best way to go around this is to give your customers an impression of what you look like and make THEM see you as a "game inspired on XX" similar to what happened to Diaspora project I saw once, they never said it but somehow media called them Anti Faceboock and their popularity just flew off the roof...

I would like your ideas and suggestions to this situation, what would be the best way to proceed if you have a strong interest in catching attention from a specific targeted audience and do not want to get in trouble with using direct lines like "inspired on all time favorite XX series.."

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This is more a marketing question.

Quoting the name of the source game in your advertising has more drawbacks than advantages. Linking your game to the source game will have two direct effects independant of your game:

- target audience will think your game as a follow up of the source game (if it is not the same settings or the same mechanics, they will feel cheated),

- target audience will expect improved game experience over the source game (they will have expectations as to what the gameplay should be - if you don't meet these expectations, you are toast).

Better analyse what are the characteristics of the source game that appealed to the target audience. Mention those characteristics and explain in what way your game improves the source game genre.

Let's analyse a simple example: a racing game based on Trackmania but in a mad max world with improved player interaction (you harm other players through the use of weapons).
Why does the target audience like Trackmania (non exhaustive):
- modular circuits with special track elements (like loopings, ramps, ...)
- simplified car physics (no collision detection between players)
- multiplayer gaming available
- race recording available for sharing

Now in what ways does the new game improve over the previous one:
- mad max world settings
- car customisation with offensive weapons and defences
- broader objectives: either finish first or disable all opponents first

Once you have listed all the characteristics, then you write out a first advertisement pitch that sums up all these characteristics:

Trapped in a post apocalyptic world, you must race for survival through incredible scenery. Your opponents won't leave you a chance as resources are scarce and make the difference between freedom and despair (world setting).
Customize your own car and be the first to finish with a functional car( customisation and objectives). Defy other players on the existing acrobatic circuits or your own ones built using our modular circuit builder system (modular circuits and multiplayer gaming). Record your deeds for all to see that you are fit to survive this world (race recording and sharing).Will you accept the challenge ?

The pitch above is a little simplistic but conveys the information. Now you must tell your target audience that you have a game that may interest them using the pitch above. You can advertise:
- by requesting in their forums beta testers for your game (to check wether the game is right on target or not - and use the beta testers to spread word of the existence of your game).
- by advertising in their forums the existence of your game (within the rules of their forums).
- by advertising in specialized newspapers (having a review for example of your game).

Never use in your advertisement the name of the source game as it may predate the target audience's perception of your game (see above).

Hope that helps.

Ghostly yours,

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Original post by SabataS
Lets say that one of your games is inspired on another one, and that game quite more popular... it may bring great results to mention [in the ad campaign]... what it is inspired on, right?

How do you figure that?
"Buy this game, it's like Grand Theft Auto only better"?
How is that a good idea, and what kind of "great results" are you envisioning?

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Red Ghost thank you very much for your post, very helpful and quite detailed, you've successfully transmitted the idea to me and I am now with no doubts going on the right path [or at least a better one]. Really appreciate it.

Tom Sloper, simple answer but does transmit the idea ;) ... thanks.

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In the US, using the name of another title to promote your game is tricky because it could be considered trademark infringement as either a false designation of origin or false endorsement by the original trademark owner. If you are just trying to get eyeballs to consider purchasing your product by mentioning the famous game, then you are probably going to be over the line. It may also be subject to other civil claims such as unfair competition or interference with prospective business.

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