I don’t know if you have seen the McDonald’s Line Rider commercial, but it caught me by surprise while watching some show with my kids (it was old hat to them, of course).
Very cool that a little indie game has made it to a commercial, and it follows on the heels of other game-based commercials like the Coke parody of GTA and the WoW truck commercial. But does Line Rider seem like an odd choice for the ad, given that it hardly has the mass market penetration that something like Grand Theft Auto has? Perhaps we might think that it isn’t something that the average non-gamer is going to have heard about.
I think this perception is upside-down. I think the non-gamer (meaning, core game industry gamer) is more likely to bump into Line Rider than into many of the industry’s mainstream products (GTA and WoW are not fair comparisons, given that they’re at the hyper-top end of popularity and mass market penetration).
- The Linerider.org forums have 50k registered members – and it’s an unofficial site. From that, a conservative estimate would at the very least extrapolate 500,000 people touching Line Rider – and I bet that is low by a lot.
- The downloadable version has been grabbed 116,000 times from CNet alone. At the low end we can extrapolate at least 10x that in web-based tries, and again that’s conservative.
- The official site claims 16 million views of the web-based version.
I’d be stunned if the popular reach of Line Rider in terms of mindshare wasn’t well over 1 million. It was one of the top ten rising keywords on Google a couple of years ago (meaning, the penetration zone of keywords like “Heroes” and “YouTube”). For comparison, a hit album these days hits #1 by moving 100-250k units, and most of cable TV is happy to get a weekly viewership of 0.5 to 2m, though the picture is a bit better on broadcast networks. CSI got 6.5m last week for example.
So, if you have a Line Rider McDonalds’ ad airing during, say, a typical show on Cartoon Network (which is where I think I saw it), it may well be that Line Rider is better known than the TV show during which it airs.