Godrej creates virtual world

By Kapil Ohri , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Digital | March 30, 2010
The company recently unveiled a computer simulated environment called GoJiyo, which will create awareness and let consumers experience Godrej products virtually

Godrej, which has not used online marketing aggressively as yet, is now trying a new marketing trick to reach consumers on the Internet.

The company recently launched a computer simulated space or a virtual world called gojiyo.com. Internet users can sign up and create an avatar on it. Once registered, the members will get a fixed amount of virtual money - measured in the form of 'Mio', the currency of GoJiyo - which members can use to purchase items such as clothes, caps, shoes and accessories in the virtual world.

Apart from shopping, members will have freedom to roam inside the virtual world, which is actually divided into various zones and sub-zones. For instance, a member can enter a zone named Solaris, which further consists of various sub-zones comprising sea, beach and a town area having cafés, showrooms, a sports stadium, mazes, bridges and buildings.

Members will be empowered to interact with each other through text and voice chat and also perform various activities such as skydiving, bungee jumping and rope walking.

Interestingly, Godrej will place its products at many locations inside this virtual world so as to let consumers experience and become aware about its products.

"There has been a perceptible shift in the pivots of a vast array of Godrej brands towards a younger audience. Godrej brands such as Sofit (soya milk); Cinthol Deo; Good Knight Naturals; Yummiez (ready to cook snack); Renew (hair colour); Interio (urban furniture); Eon I-Fresh refrigerators and Eon Mirror Star air conditioners are the vanguard of this youth centric movement from Godrej. These are the products that will be seen within the GoJiyo world for the moment," says Ashutosh Tiwari, executive vice-president, strategic marketing, Godrej.

"We will share a vast product portfolio within the GoJiyo world. However, these products will be strategically placed so as to allow members to experience them in a non intrusive manner," Tiwari adds.

For instance, when a member walks down an area called Haze - located near the beach in the virtual world - he will be attacked by mosquitoes. A member is supposed to find out Good Knight Naturals to protect himself.

Similarly, members will discover Godrej Interio urban furniture and Yummiez snacks inside the café. The showroom or retail outlet named Sho in GoJiyo will showcase Godrej Eon Mirror Star ACs. As part of the subtle branding, the buildings in the virtual world will bear the same colours of the Godrej logo.

As per an industry estimate, a brand requires up to Rs 50 lakh to create a full-fledged virtual world (such as GoJiyo), which offers multi player interactions and product placement. The advertiser will have to bear various costs such as content creation, server and site maintenance.

It will be interesting to watch whether Godrej's virtual world attempt works, especially considering the fact that the site may face issues related to bandwidth availability and hardware compatibility at the users' end.

Secondlife.com, a prominent virtual world where some Indian brands such as Amul, Tata Indicom and CRY have created their existences, has just about 8,000 active users in India, as per an industry estimate.

For the uninitiated, GoJiyo is an in-browser based online virtual world. This implies that an Internet user is not required to download any software on his personal computer to access and use GoJiyo.com. However, in the case of Secondlife.com, users have to download the Second Life software to be able to navigate the site.

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