The virtual sofa – wait marketing in Second Life

Diana Derval
Marketing and Innovation at the University of Wales MBA/Robert Kennedy College,
ESSEC Paris-Singapore Business School and Derval Research, Netherlands

Mario Menti
Solutions Architect, Global Market Insite, Inc. (GMI), United Kingdom

INTRODUCTION

Research conducted in the United States and Europe confirms that consumers are twice as receptive to communications while they are waiting (Derval, 2007). This approach is called wait marketing, because consumers consider advertising in that specific context as entertaining. A TV commercial, for instance, will be remembered by 17% of consumers when viewed at home. The same ad will be remembered by 27% of consumers when they see it in the doctor's waiting room.

So this begs the question: would such an approach work in virtual worlds such as Second Life, which is already proving to be an attractive test ground for international companies, including BBC, IBM, Warner Bros or Reuters? At a time when virtual communities are growing in popularity, with for instance 11 million users roaming in Second Life (Linden Lab, 2008), what does this trend mean for marketing and market research professionals worldwide, and what new research opportunities does it offer them?