I was watching a little primetime TV last night and saw a spot by Toyota for their Tundra line of trucks. The 30 second spot features the virtual world/video game World of Warcraft (WoW), but even if you're not familiar with the WoW you can pretty easily follow along. I think it's very progressive of them to use this concept and I'm sure it's reaching the younger male audience that they're targeting. Here it is if you have not seen it.
Another example of virtual worlds coming to mainstream is the October 24 episode of CSI: NY. In the episode a parallel Second Life experience will allow users to interact in a whodunit of unprecedented proportions. Users will be able to log in to SL and walk through the crime lab, process evidence and try to catch the killer.
Both of these endeavors by such large companies show me that they believe virtual worlds are at a tipping point for their target audiences. I imagine this type of integration will become more common in certain audience demographics as the technology gets easier to use and the experience becomes more easily accessible.
This definitely appeals to a pretty narrow audience, but it's a very hip, young, connected, tech-savvy one. Have you seen any other examples of this type of virtual world integration? What other brands lend themselves to this type of hook given the audience?