CFP: Virtual Social Identity and Consumer Behavior
Via the Second Life Researchers mailing list, here’s news of the The 27th annual Advertising and Consumer Psychology Conference to be held 1-2 May 2008 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania:
The 27th annual Advertising and Consumer Psychology Conference will be held May 1-2, 2008 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The conference is sponsored by the Society for Consumer Psychology (SCP).The theme of the conference is Virtual Social Identity and Consumer Behavior. We encourage participation from a broad range of academic researchers and practitioners in such fields as marketing and consumer psychology, computer science, sociology, economics, and communications.
To date more than 40 RL (real life) companies including GM, Dell, Sony, IBM and Wells Fargo are staking their claim to online real estate in computer-mediated environments (CME’s) such as Second Life, There.com and Entropia Universe. In April 2007 alone, residents of the online “world” Second Life spent approximately $10 million (in real money) on virtual land, products and services. Corporate America’s transition to the virtual world is an attempt to reach and entice the growing flood of consumers occupying these virtual worlds.
Clearly this expanding space will be pivotal in fueling new consumer trends over the next decade. In addition, the parallel growth in spending on advergaming continues to transfigure the online C2C world. Forecasts suggest that sales of branded messages embedded in videogames will reach $733 million by 2010. Eventually, these CME forums may rival traditional, marketer-sponsored E-commerce sites in terms of their influence on consumer decision-making and product adoption.
Despite this huge potential, we know very little about the best way to talk to consumers in these online environments. How will well-established research findings from the offline world transfer to CMEs? For example, can we be sure that our received wisdom regarding the impact of source credibility upon persuasion will readily apply to a situation where a “source” espousing adoption of a new product takes the form of an animated supermodel with exaggerated “attributes” or a bright green demon with fearsome horns?
These new online platforms generate many fascinating research questions for the advertising and consumer psychology community.
Loads of interesting research questions. Lots to discuss. Particularly in light of this LA Times article questioning the marketing viability of online virtual worlds.
Submissions should be sent by 15 December 2007. More information is here.