James has been covering Second Life since the beginning. If you ever have a chance to have him walk you through the virtual world an point out its hot spots, do not pass it up.

Today he writes in GigaOM about a recent research report which found a large majority of residents are disappointed with real world marketing company’s approach to marketing in Second Life. This comes against a backdrop of large companies beginning to question their commitment to marketing themselves via this channel when the prospect of any ROI is so remote.

To play in Second Life, corporations must first come to a humbling realization: in the context of the fantastic, their brands as they exist in the real world are boring, banal, and unimaginative.

Car companies are trying to compete with college kids who turn a virtual automotive showroom into a 24/7 hiphop dance party, and create lovingly designed muscle cars that fly, and auction off for $2000 in real dollars at charity auctions. (click thru to read this complete with links)

Yes, I think the car companies need to rethink this entirely – the product design people should be in here, not the marketing department.