Empire Avenue, the Edmonton-based social stock market, has launched Branded Luxury Items and Achievements, with Xbox leading the way thanks to an agreement between Empire Avenue and leading social agency, Singley + Mackie.
Users can convert their "social capital" into a virtual Xbox 360 and can show off how much they love Xbox to earn a special Achievement on the site.
Social capital, which users grow by being active and engaged online, can now be used to invest in virtual goods (via the Eaves virtual currency) from companies on the site, earning them additional virtual currency and – if the brand chooses – real-world rewards like discounts, products and services. Xbox has stepped up to the plate with a virtual Xbox 360, offering a reward of in-game currency to purchasers.
“Early in 2011 we saw Empire Avenue as a great place for brands to interact with consumers in a very different manner," says Matt Singley, Chief Engagement Officer at Singley + Mackie. "The Eaves are a great way to have a balanced transaction with our fans…not only can they buy shares in us, but we can buy shares in them! As soon as we put Xbox and Zune into the game, we knew immediately that this was a great and unique way to give something back. Xbox quickly became the #1 brand on Empire Avenue, and Zune wasn’t too far behind! Our clients love it, their fans love it…it’s been a big win for everybody involved.”
Branded Achievements further encourage engagement with brands using game mechanics, and users who purchase the virtual Xbox 360 and then take to Empire Avenue, Facebook or Twitter and post “Xbox FTW” as a status update will unlock the cherished and oh-so-fashionable “Xbox Fanatic” Achievement.
“We’re thrilled to have Xbox on board to debut Branded Luxury Items and Achievements," says Duleepa Wijayawardhana, Chief Executive Officer at Empire Avenue. "It’s a great example of a brand that has really embraced social media, and it’s no surprise that Xbox quickly rose up the ranks on Empire Avenue. We’re excited about the potential of this platform to allow users and brands to connect in meaningful, mutually beneficial ways, and we can’t wait to see how companies will leverage our Luxury Items and Achievements to reach new audiences and reward their existing, loyal fans.”
Virtual goods were a 7.3-billion-dollar business in 2010 according to In-Stat, and that number is expected to double by 2014. On Empire Avenue, these virtual items can not only be used to offer in-game benefits, but also allow users to turn their Social Capital into tangible rewards.