Brands Get In On Animal Crossing; Google-Apple Contact Tracing Sparks Backlash

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Branding The Game

Brands are jumping into Nintendo’s newest Animal Crossing game. Highsnobiety and 100 Thieves are recreating their clothing collections so people can dress up avatars, and even non-apparel brands such as Twitter and Xbox have branded in-game clothing. Getty images lets players mount art on the walls of in-game homes. Down the road, there could be opportunities for finance, travel and QSR brands to enter the game. Integrations are free, and the game, full of cute animals and human characters, is inherently brand safe. “Right now, brands are doing this for awareness,” social media strategist Adam Libonatti-Roche tells The Drum. “But … they’ll figure out that they have an audience here, and that they can establish their brand in the streaming and video games sector with their own unique style.”

Do Not Track (And Trace)

Privacy concerns are swirling as Apple and Google step up their coronavirus contact tracing efforts with the government. Both companies power 99% of the world’s smartphones, so could run widespread tracing. But despite promises to anonymize data and avoid sharing personal information, people may not want to opt in, CNBC reports. On Monday, 300 academics released an open letter expressing concern about tech surveillance. Google is taking most of the heat, since 85% of its business comes from targeted ads. But both companies have “a lot of work to do to convince a rightfully skeptical public that they are fully serious about the privacy and security of their contact tracing efforts,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn. 

Go For A Song

Without live concerts, bands and musicians are turning to streaming their performances. Is there a future in it? There’s reason for optimism. Stageit, a site for musicians to stream shows, earned $8,000 between New Years Day and March 10, but made $2.1 million from then through the first five days of April, reports the music industry trade Stereogum. Stageit has strong monetization, because audiences are required to purchase “notes,” the platform currency in 10-cent increments that can be used to tip performers. The big platforms have a huge advantage though, because they can support millions of high-quality, concurrent streams. But those first efforts at live virtual concerts on Instagram Live, YouTube and Twitch are mostly going to charity drives, not true monetization.

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