Neopets (and Donna) mentioned on the BBC... briefly

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Kantark
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Neopets (and Donna) mentioned on the BBC... briefly

Post by Kantark » 26 Jul 2014 10:47 pm

Was anybody else surprised to see Neopets (and their creation of 'immersive advertising' in the early 2000s) featured in the documentary programme 'The Men Who Made Us Spend' on BBC2 earlier? It included a brief conversation with Donna and description of the site's techniques regarding advertising to children, as part of a wider documentary about the varying ways the public have been encouraged to buy stuff they don't need over the years. The programme made Neopets out to be something of a trailblazer in this field!

UKians should be able to view it on iPlayer, it's the third programme in the series and the Neopets bit starts about 35mins in from memory.
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Re: Neopets (and Donna) mentioned on the BBC... briefly

Post by thelonetiel » 27 Jul 2014 05:24 pm

I am not surprised at all... But then, I feel like the Wikipedia article about Neopets introduced me to the idea that they were pioneers in the subject back when it was still under Doug Dohring's reign.

I'm pretty sure that was in the "Criticism" section at the time (or should have been).

Interesting that they were able to get Donna in for an interview, did she seem regretful about it? She just seems so busy and wanting to put Neopets in the past.

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Kantark
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Re: Neopets (and Donna) mentioned on the BBC... briefly

Post by Kantark » 27 Jul 2014 11:21 pm

Yes, she did sound extremely fed up with how far they were pushed to comply with their sponsors - as an example she mentioned a game they were asked to make which was basically Wheel of Excitement but involved spinning a toothbrush and was to be called 'Wheel of Brush' (I don't remember this one so maybe it didn't make it.) She also said that they ended up with a ratio of five developers working on sponsored games to just one on Neo games.
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Re: Neopets (and Donna) mentioned on the BBC... briefly

Post by EofS » 29 Jul 2014 03:26 am

<work hat on>
They misidentify Mario Kart Wii as Super Mario Cart in the Wii section immediately before Neopets, which is very poor. And he's not using the strap on his Wiimote properly. Naughty.

Also, interesting tracking the production process. In the clip, their Aisha menwho is 40 days old. If you look her up now, she's 235 days - created on 05/12/2013. So they must have created the pet during preproduction a good month before filming (or the cutaways of the site were shot later). And it's taken 6 months to make it to air, which seems quite long. Also, they have played three games - logging (low) scores in Kass Basher, Slots Big Losers and Test Your Strength. None of which appear in the doco.
</work hat on>

<neopets player hat (Winter Blechy Hat) on>
I don't know, I think I maybe remember spinning a toothbrush? The number of developers (I took that to be not a ratio but hard numbers, but either way) was shocking.
</neopets player hat (Winter Blechy Hat) on>
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Re: Neopets (and Donna) mentioned on the BBC... briefly

Post by Dixie » 31 Jul 2014 09:28 pm

Kantark wrote:as an example she mentioned a game they were asked to make which was basically Wheel of Excitement but involved spinning a toothbrush and was to be called 'Wheel of Brush'
Ahaha, wow, that sounds dire.

It's interesting that they are treated as pioneers in this form of advertising, and yet there is a sense of resentment about the whole thing. This is still apparent now if the pair are in informal interviews/chats too, such as that Reddit AMA some months back. In the past, but I suppose that feeling doesn't really leave you.
Odd to hear was part of this doc either way, but more so because it strikes me that they've ended up rather reclusive after everything.
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