Monday, October 19, 2009

Part 1: The Arm Brand Summary

For the first part of this project, I wrote the brand name ‘Madden' on my arm in permanent marker, prior to attending an eighties night. I wanted to combine the trends of ‘specific, honest’ body art, generational themed nights and sports games and observe the outcome.

To my surprise, when I entered ‘80s’ night, a much older crowd was present. 80s themed events are very trendy as of today and usually filled with a very young crowd (20-30s). In a rough estimate, the crowd was 25% ages 20 -30 and 75% ages 40 – 50.

Upon entering the club, I made sure to matriculate to places that would help individuals notice my arm markings; my time was split between the dance floor and the very crowed bar.

(40-50) observations
When the older demographic saw my markings, they were more curious about why I would write the name of a game on my arm, more than the game brand itself. Most of the conversations were spent discussing my decision on body marking.

When the game was discussed, this demographic did 2 things
1. Embraced the fact that they played sports video games, almost using the game play as a ‘badge of pride’ to express how ‘with the times’ they were.
2. Became embarrassed about playing the game, stating that they were too old.

Very rarely did the older demographics fall in between those 2 observations. It was generally one extreme or the other.

(21-30) reactions
The younger demographic barely mentioned the marking on my arm after asking ‘what’s that’. This generation instantly began talking about the game or asking about the game. With the exception of those who identified themselves as ‘gamers’, playing the game seemed to be a very common, ordinary aspect of their lives.

This experiment led me to the realization of the extreme generation gap between the 2 explored demographics. After this experiment I did some further research on trends and discovered articles that stated and developed on the fact that ‘there is a larger generation gap today than ever before. I feel that understanding this gap more fully can open up many new ways to discuss the game and help work it into and individuals’ culture.


  1. what's up with the 'embarrassment' of the older demo? I wonder if they were saying that because it was a social situation (maybe with a spouse or co-worker) and knew that they aren't 'supposed to' like video games.

    Based on what you saw, would it be interesting/valuable to do a campaign that portrayed the game as a guilty pleasure?

  2. Thank you so much for the comment! I would have commented back way sooner, but I was out with the awful flu...

    Anywho, portraying gaming as a guilty pleasure sounds like an interesting idea but I wouldn't do something huge and obvious that calls a lot of attention to the 'embarassment factor.' I really like that this older demo. was able to take the current interpretations and images of gaming and create their own identity with gaming from this. I love when people take a brand and 'sort of' put their own meaning and spin on it. I feel that calling too much attention to this demos feelings towards gaming would destroy this semi brand hijack all together.

    I do think it would be cool to implement some strategic social networking and start like an 'underground pride' campaign. Maybe inspire people to discuss their feelings with gaming and create a sense of camaraderie in this community.

    What do you think? Do you think using social networking would be a cool idea to inspire other 'closeted' gamers?