Preference Choice Publication

Hotel Hideaway tie-up enables players to buy virtual BALR. goods to wear in the game

David Murphy

Dutch premium lifestyle brand BALR. has partnered with Azerion’s life simulator and social game, Hotel Hideaway, to allow game players to buy from a virtual BALR. store within the game. This is the first branded in-game store in the virtual hotel, enabling brands to become part of the experience rather than relying on advertising.

The campaign adds new clothes and home items to the playing experience all the time. The first two week period saw 25 per cent of all Hotel Hideaway’s players buying something at the BALR. store, with 250,000 items sold. The items sold are virtual goods that players can wear in the game.

In that time, BALR. white trainers peaked briefly as the best-selling item within the game. Combined, players wore the trainers for 250m seconds (almost eight years) within the game. All the BALR. items were worn for a time that added up to 1.5bn seconds (nearly 50 years) in that first two weeks.

“Gamers value brands that are an active part of their game,” said Kim van Teunenbroek, global partnership director at Azerion. “They feel like it adds to the experience and so they respond positively.”

The game simulates the experience of being in a top hotel; BALR. is running the hotel fashion store. The partnerships reflects the shared values of BALR. and Azerion, with both constantly exploring new ways to reach and engage a new audience.

Research from NewZoo shows that gamers are more receptive to brands, with half saying they use ads to keep up to date with products they want. Gamers are also 23 per cent more likely to have purchase influence on their friends and family.

“Typically players are spending more than 25 minutes per session with Hotel Hideaway and they come back time and again,” said BALR. CEO, Juul Manders. "By making BALR. a part of the experience, we get an amazing user response. And because players love that experience, they tell their friends and BALR.’s brand message reaches well beyond the game.”