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    Fortress Australia appoints CMO to capitalise on meteoric growth in gaming market

    Games culture and experiences company Fortress Australia has appointed a Beth Appleton as chief marketing officer as it seeks to increase its share of Australia’s booming gaming market. 

    Appleton, the ex-Jaxsta chief executive officer and former Warner Music general manager, believes it is an “exciting turning point” for Australia’s gaming industry. As of 2022, the industry was worth $4.21 billion, up from $2.67 billion the previous year, experiencing meteoric year-on-year growth since 2017

    Appleton’s appointment aimed to seize the growing demand for experiential and community engagement in the Australian metro gaming scene through its venues, along with the brand opportunities that come with it.

    Experience in terms of the consumer world is critical,” Appleton said to Mediaweek

    “Advertising is not advertising anymore. It’s about how do you tell a story? How do you deliver an experience that fans and consumers can take away and remember; and remember something really special.”

    Fortress Australia appoints CMO to capitalise on meteoric growth in gaming market

    Fortress Australia, Sydney venue

    Console Playing in Tavern VIP Booth at Fortress Australia - Melbourne

    Console Playing in Tavern VIP Booth at Fortress Australia, Melbourne venue

    “The belonging piece is really key to Fortress,” she continued. “Our patrons know that they belong there, and it’s where they can engage in things they’re passionate about.”

    “We try to provide a kind of connection into games culture for everybody, and it spans the whole games culture, not just video games,” added Fortress CEO, Jon Satterley.

    According to a recent study by Anzu and Lumen, gaming advertising commands gamers’ attention for longer than any digital advertising format other than YouTube. 

    The report suggested that in-game advertising drives 98% viewability, which translates to “strong viewing figures” of 85%.

    Yet the gaming audience remains wildly uncharted for most advertisers, with some predicting 2024 to be the year brands cotton onto the dormant opportunities of the gaming category.

    Last year Gareth Leeding, chief strategy officer at Livewire, made the prediction to Mediaweek that “2024 will be the year that brands go from being watchable to playable.”

    See also: 
    Gaming advertising drives more attention than all other digital advertising formats, reports Anzu & Lumen
    Mediaweek’s A to Z of 2023: G is for Gaming

    “To my astonishment it still seems to be the case that some brands just keep spending on TVCs,” said Satterley.

    “Sure, you’ve got some ads running against My Kitchen Rules or The Block, but 10 times as many people were playing Call of Duty last night.”

    That being said, Satterley added, “It’s a good news story, that there is a real growth and burgeoning understanding of the importance of connecting with games culture.”

    “I think it’s not a total lament that everybody’s ignoring,” he said, pointing to early adopter brands that have been quick to partner with Fortress, such as Alienware (Dell) and Red Bull

    “Those two brands just knew the importance of games culture.” 

    He continued, “The clever brands and smart marketers are increasingly wanting to have the conversation: How do we connect to gamers? How do we find ways to bring our brands into the world of games culture? For us, that’s also part of our business model.”

    Satterley explained that with Appleton, Fortress had discovered a unique blend of expertise in music, entertainment, and digital technology – a combination poised to craft the next chapter of Fortress’ story. The broad appeal becomes even more significant as its venues expand, tapping into mainstream and metropolitan audiences in response to evolving demand.

    Prior to her most recent position at Jaxta, Appleton held a decade-long tenure at Warner Music, where she was general manager and senior vice president of marketing Australasia (previously SVP global marketing based out of London). 

    “If you go into a Fortress venue, there are so many different opportunities in terms of how you can engage your customers in that environment,” Appleton stated.

    However, she believes one of the most unmistakable opportunities for the multimedia, multifunction experiential space is to better leverage the synergy of the music and gaming industries.

    “It’s the same universe, and it’s so intertwined. But yet, we maybe haven’t led any key initiatives yet in that space. And certainly, we’ll be looking to do that.”

    Appleton continued, “I want to see Fortress really become part of the Australian landscape.”

    See also: Growing Pains: How advertising in the Aussie video game industry is beating middle child syndrome

    Top Image: Beth Appleton & Jon Satterley

    The post Fortress Australia appoints CMO to capitalise on meteoric growth in gaming market appeared first on Mediaweek.

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