Blog Header
The Insights Blog

Dedicated To Helping Readers
Be More Interesting
Since 2004.

As Featured In:

Ideas for Marketing with Fantasy Games Online

On Friday last week, there was a great piece by Julia Beizer in the Washington Post Express about a different category of fantasy games that offer an alternative to Fantasy Football.  Now officially giving up on my Fantasy Football team after losing my two star players in back to back weeks to season ending injuries, I may just be seeking an alternative fantasy league myself.  For those readers of my blog unfamiliar with the American phenomenon of Fantasy Football – the premise is very simple: choose a player at each position from any team, and each week your "fantasy team" gains points based on how each of these individual players performs.  In this way, you can combine the best players from multiple teams and have a stake in multiple NFL games as you watch how each of your players perform.  As I have commented before on this blog, it’s a brilliant brand extension strategy for the NFL that keeps it’s brand front and center during the football season, and leverages the statistical element of the game to deepen it’s relationship with NFL fans.

Now, however, the idea of fantasy gaming is starting to travel beyond football … and even beyond sports.  The Tabloid Fantasy League is a great example, allowing people to choose their roster of stars and win points each time a star appears on the cover of a tabloid or gossip mag.  Of course, you lose points if your stars are busted by the cops … or the fashion police.  The rise of concepts like this raises an interesting truth about the power that fantasy games can have to raise an individual’s personal stake in just about anything.  In each case, the core benefit is engagement at a deeper and more personal level.  In a way, this is the reason why online stock trading has become so successful.  By removing the barrier to trading and watching investments, you can come up with your own "fantasy portfolio" with real money, and track your investments real time.  Here are a few other ideas for how fantasy games could be used by real world marketers to extend their brands and engage customers:

  1. AMC Opening Weekend Fantasy – Each weekend, you can bet on the movies that will have the largest opening weekends.  Tie this into movie marketing and viral campaigns already being launched for many movie openings, and this could be a big idea in Hollywood.
  2. Technorati Blog Fantasy – Despite the often discussed inconsistencies in how Technorati reports inbound links to blogs, tying a fantasy game into the currently existing Blog Favourites list could offer a great hook for users to continually check back into Technorati.  Readers could get points based on how many inbound links posts from their favourite blogs get over the course of a week.
  3. AllRecipes/Whole Foods Food Fantasy – One of the best recipe sites out there, AllRecipes, could launch a fantasy game that lets site visitors select products to add to their fantasy lineup and win points based on how many views of recipes that use those ingredients get, or even tie it into sales data from a large grocery chain such as Whole Foods to win points based on bestselling items. 
  4. PRWeek Fantasy Placements – This one is likely to get us in trouble, but what if the entire PR industry could select fantasy teams based on clients, stories, and PR agencies?  All readers of PRWeek could choose which clients, stories or PR agencies are likely to get prominent news placements on online and offline media and win points based on the favorability and prominence of the placement.

I am sure there are lots more ideas for how fantasy games could be used for marketing, though my favourite so far comes from the civic sector.  The Fantasy Congress (mentioned in Beizer’s original piece), is a site where you can "draft" senators and representatives and earn points as they introduce legislation and make law.  As one of the founders of the site says, "if people cared about government as much as they cared about sports, we’d have a much better government."  I’m heading to the site right now to choose my fantasy congress.  Unfortunately, the way my luck has gone for Fantasy Football, I wouldn’t be surprised if I lost my chosen Senator to a season ending sex scandal before too long …

4 thoughts on “Ideas for Marketing with Fantasy Games Online”

  1. I would agree with the part about the idea being scary. I don’t personally participate in any fantasy leagues, but I can see how consumed people get by them. It certainly does make an incredible amount of sense from a marketing standpoint.

  2. I LOVE the ideas.. how fun. How about tracking reality shows.. you can pick who you think is going to win (bachelor, survivor, etc.)

  3. You might be interested in “suitcase of cash” ( link ) which is a promotion that the guys at area/code games (these guys) did in the US for A&E… it’s a game like fantasy football … except it uses what happens in the Sopranos on TV to determine what happens in the Sopranos game online. I’m not quite sure how they do it, but in the demo it looks cool. There was just an article about it in the New York Times somewhere.


Leave a Comment

Vector Smart Object

About Rohit

A keynote speaker on trends, innovation, marketing, storytelling and diversity.

Rohit Bhargava is on a mission to inspire more non-obvious thinking in the world. He is the #1 Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author of eight books and is widely considered one of the most entertaining and original speakers on disruption, trends and marketing in the world.

Rohit has been invited to keynote events in 32 countries … and over the past year, given more than 100 virtual talks from his home studio. He previously spent 15 years as a marketing strategist at Ogilvy and Leo Burnett and also teaches marketing and storytelling as an adjunct professor at Georgetown University.

He loves the Olympics, actively hates cauliflower and is a proud dad of boys.

Rohit Bhargava About (1)


Do you need a speaker that can help your audience be more innovative and anticipate the future?

For more than a decade, Rohit Bhargava has been inspiring audiences at NASA, Disney, Schwab, Microsoft, SXSW, Coca-Cola and hundreds of other clients with his signature non-obvious keynote presentations. He is a master at weaving recent stories into his talks in a way that helps audiences better understand the world today, while also preparing to lead the future.

Non Obvious Insights
Layer 97
Non Obvious Insights Newsletter
Layer 118

Skip the obvious and anticipate the future with our weekly newsletter. Join over 25,000 subscribers and start receiving the stories (and insights) you’ve been missing.


#1 WSJ & USAToday Bestselling Author

Rohit is the author of 8 books on trends, the future of business, building a more human brand with storytelling and how to create a more diverse and inclusive world.

Vector Smart Object


Have a Question or Inquiry?

Just fill out this form, and we’ll get back to you within 24 hours!

About You

What Are You Contacting Us About*:

Your Message