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LARP: Live Action & Real Problems

Advertising Your LARP

by Jason Hosler
Feb 23,2005

 

LARP: Live Action & Real Problems

by Jason Hosler, Raging Gargoyle Games

Advertising Your LARP

So now you know what kind of a game you're going to run and you have started building up an inventory of props and physreps. You've got locations picked out and the members of your Plot group are humming with creativity. Now you just need to get some people together to play the thing. This is far and away the most difficult and frustrating part of running a LARP, mainly as it is the part that you have almost no control over. Fortunately you do have one tool at hand to help bring attention to your game, Advertising. There are three main methods of advertising that are reasonably cost effective: Static Advertising, Web Ads, and Word of Mouth.

By Static advertising I'm refering primarily to fliers that would be posted at game shops and on public information areas (college kiosks and bulletin boards, for instance), or at a convention information table. Like any other form of print media you must be very cautious with the wording and presentation of the text. You want to word your fliers so that they intrigue the potential player into wanting to get more information. It's also useful to have some sort of logo or graphic for the game that is eye-catching. Graphics (especially color graphics) are infinately more eye-catching than plain text is. If you head your flyer with an attractive or interesting graphic, you're much more likely to catch someone's attention enough for them to read the flyer. The flyer should present the interested party with as many avenues to more information as possible. This means that you should list your website(if you have one), the time and place of the next event your holding, and either an email address or some other way for them to contact you directly. I would recommend that you not post a phone number, as you never know who may get ahold it.

Web Ads, to me any way, refer to any and all forms of webvertisement. This includes your game's website, static posts on announcement forums such as www.larplist.com, and possibly even purchased ad times on other local and semi-local LARPs websites. The website for your game is the single most useful information distribution tool you have available, short of word of mouth. Your website is likely to be the easiest and most often referenced source of information for your game. If you don't have a website or someone to do one for you, ask around. I do not know of a single successful LARP that doesn't have it's own webspace.

The single most powerful marketing tool, however, is Word of Mouth. For my LARP I've gone out of the way to put up fliers and do web ads and such, and I've developed our website, but we have garnered more players through simply telling people about the game and showing our enthusiasm for it than anything else we've done. Word of Mouth is vital enough that every game I know of offers players in-game rewards for bringing new players to events. Personally, my game gives a $5 discount on the price of attendance if you bring a new player with you. It can't be overstressed how powerful a force Word of Mouth advertising is for a LARP. The best way for people to get interesting in giving you LARP a try is for them to meet and talk with somebody that is already a fan of your game.

As you can see the many avenues of Advertising are the key to reaching and expanding your target audience with the LARP. Your LARP can only succeed if it grows, and it can only grow with new players. New players will only want to play your game if they know about it and the only way they will know about is through advertising.

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What do you think?

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