Saturday, May 05, 2007

Visa Card - Jumping the Shark?

I was reading WoW Insider and came across the World of Warcraft Visa article and followed some of the links.


1st Response - lmFao. That picture of the Elf and the Credit Card - I couldn't dream of a photoshop idea that good.
2nd Response - omg this is not a joke.
3rd Response - Oh no. I take it back. I. Take. It. Back. Whatever I said about Merchandising. This is just wrong.

It's hard to explain why it just doesn't feel right. The best attempt to express it is to compare it to a story that Jumps the Shark.

Jumping the Shark -
You know - take your favorite show that's been on a while and then add some big event or twist that was completely NOT foreshadowed and is therefore an obvious attempt to re-energize/remake/reenvision the show into something different than what you signed on to watch.

It's one thing for your favorite TV family to have a new baby - it's another thing when it shows up next season 8 years old to deliver punchlines.

Well this piece of Merchandising, is like a new baby that came back the next episode and suddenly he's 37. And he's delivering more than punchlines.

No Lead In/No Foreshadowing:
Dear Credit Card Executive,
We are Blizzard. Perhaps you've heard of us. (Insert visual of the evil villain stroking his netherwhelp pet here.)

We have a few million WoW Subscribers in the US. We would like you to partner with us to provide them with a credit card reward program that grants free play time.

To show you that our subscriber base is willing to purchase beyond their $15.00/month subscriber fees we offer you the following history of branded items that we have marketed successfully:
  • T-Shirts and hats

Please contact us for further information.
Sincerely yours,

4th Response - These people are freaking Brilliant. Because without the entry level merchandise, without any real history to show we'll bite - they still sold it. And it's brilliant because I'm sure they set this up to be profitable with even one subscriber. Heck, I'm advertising for them for free right now.

Economic Impact - I used to work at a tiny little credit card company. I was nowhere near the front lines but I know that any card company would kill to partner with someone who can deliver millions of prospective applicants.

The way I figure it - if they get 100,000 to 200,000 subscribers to pick up this card and put a typical balance on it - this is like First National of Nebraska's swallowing up my old employer and all its assets. Only no merger costs, no severance, no consolidation of systems, etc.. But more jobs - say 100 more customer service reps, collectors and/or processors. Holy crap. This is hundreds of thousands of dollars in additional revenue for this bank for several years and Blizzard is getting some kind of revenue sharing for their part.

The guy who set up the t-shirt deal and has been sitting on his butt since then, telling the boss he's busy working on the "Baby Night-Elves" cartoon deal and matching pajama buddies and bedsheets is hiding in his office right now... ashamed to come out. Meanwhile, the guy who set up the credit card deal is high-fiving real blood-elf babes and has probably been given license to make his own in game item that doubles all gold drops.

Brilliant. Freaking brilliant. Jump the shark! they're calling... Jump that shark.

Just nobody tell them what happens to the average FICO score of anyone who gets addicted to WoW.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think I will choose "Brilliant". Yep, this is right up there with a leak that World of Starcraft is in the wings -- now the implementation of things like 3D flight in WoW looks like advance parallel development for another sure hit...

I didn't see it coming, but WoW is positioned market-share-wise to spawn a movie and fill a shelf in the toy aisle.
A credit card offer with WoW incentives is ok, I guess. Though stories of people buying WoW-gold with their WoW credit card will inevitably follow.