Second Life, The once-touted promised land of interactive marketing has taken a beating as marketers wonder if their investment there makes sense. Recent studies have shown poor recall, low impressions and general apathy towards marketing in Second Life.

The problem lies not with Second Life, but in the real-world [tag]marketing[/tag] approach to a world without rules. People in Second Life want to escape the boundaries of life, not duplicate them. Brands that ape real-world strategies like billboards and showrooms filled with [tag]3d[/tag] products all suffer from lack of interest and tepid response to their marketing efforts.

Second Life

A better way to engage users in Second Life is to empower them to play. Instead of rendering your product as in its in real life, play off the fantastic, fun elements that will entertain and engage the user. Work from your [tag]brand promise[/tag], not just the attributes of your product. What ONE idea do you want the customer walking away with after interacting with your [tag]brand online[/tag]? That's where you [tag]Second Life marketing[/tag] should start, not showcasing the color your widgets come in.

An easy example of this would be for Red Bull. Instead of distributing cans of product (yawn) in Second Life, allow users to sprout large wings to fly around and share with friends. Instead of Nike recreating a specific running shoe, they could give out rocket shoes in that re-enforce a promise (speed). Sunkist Soda could run a big-wave surf contest with live bands playing and beach bonfires to capture the spirit of summer, 24 hours a day.

I might not be interested in driving a virtual Austin Martin, but I might want to try living a James Bond lifestyle online, complete with expensive suits, moonbases and sharks with lasers. This is where marketers need to stretch their creative wings, forget gravity and the leave real world behind.

Sell the virtual sizzle, not the virtual steak.