Friday, May 02, 2008

The Anti-Brand: Grand Theft Auto

Grand Theft Auto 4 is now in stores. For all the unseemly elements of the GTA game series, it does go to great pains to incorporate parody and, one might even say, satire into the GTA world.

Though I find myself now less enamored of immersive, virtual world/games like GTA, Runescape and Second Life, they do present unique opportunities for hiding humor bombs in the nooks and crannies of the game space. And here comes GTA4 with a satiric smack at one of the decades most revered brands: Apple.

The references play mostly on the perception of some that Apple is a brand for effete elitists.
More screen grabs and description at The Unofficial Apple Weblog.

So what?
It's just a game...for gamers. Except that this game is anticipated to sell nearly 13 Million units this year. And with distribution like that for what is arguably as immersive an online experience as it gets, one wonders where a brand's loyalties might be found...or found the minds of GTA4 players.
The GTA4 Apple easter egg also reminds me that for any brand that becomes 'fashionable' there will inevitably be a counter-fashion that seeks to think different.
UPDATE 5/7/08: GTA4 delivers $500 Million in sales in the first week...6 million units of the game...that's a lot of engagement anyway you look at it.

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