From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Advergaming is the practice of using games, particularly computer games, to advertise or promote a product, organization or viewpoint. The term "advergames" was coined in Wired magazine's "Jargon Watch" column in 2001, and has been applied to various free online games commissioned by major companies.
Advergaming normally falls into one of three categories:
1.) At first a company provides interactive games on its website in the hope that potential customers will be drawn to the game and spend more time on the website, or simply become more product aware. The games themselves usually feature the company's products prominently. These games are often reworked arcade classics but occasional gems can be found such as the Dyson game, Intel's IT manager Game, and a classic from Nurofen
The earliest custom video games featuring integrated brand messages (now called advergames) and were distributed on Floppy disk in the era before substantial penetration of the World Wide Web. The first floppy disk advergames were developed to serve dual purposes -- as promotional incentives that drive response and as media that deliver awareness. American Home Foods Chef Boyardee brand issued the first-ever floppy-disk advergame. Other early brands to use the format were Coca-Cola and Taco Bell, which distributed games as ""kids premiums". The first in-box CD-ROM cereal box advergames were Chex brand's Chex Quest and General Mills All-Star baseball, which starred Trix Rabbit and friends playing baseball against Major League teams and stars.
2.) In the second form games are published in the usual way and cause them to investigate further. The subjects may be commercial, political or educational. Examples of the second form of game include America's Army, intended to boost recruitment for the United States Army, and Special Force, intended to promote Arab resistance to the state of Israel. Two soft drink mascots also appeared in their own game. Pepsiman appeared in a game of the same title. The most recent of this form of advertising was the use of the King mascot from hamburger chain Burger King, starring in three video games. Cool Spot was the mascot for 7Up and appeared in a game of the same name. Games themed for a specific sporting organization such as NFL or Formula One racing can also fall into this category.
An example of educational advergaming is Food Force made by the United Nations World Food Program and Urban Jungle - an educational traffic simulation.
3.) In the third category, there is often forms of advertising within a game. This is similar to subtle advertising in films, where the advertising content is within the "world" of the movie or game. A recent example is this racing game which puts advertising logos directly on the player's vehicle and around the racetrack. A fictional example is Pepsi banners lining the inside of a virtual Soccer stadium in a video game made by EA Sports. A final (but weak) example is a regular banner ad in a free small-time browser strategy game. This can be a way to combat costs that the game makers encounter and reduce the cost of the game to the consumer (especially games with monthly fees) while providing an outlet to advertise ones product. It also currently helps many people sustain free online games. However, this method of advertising, when used in offline games, is somewhat controversial as players may feel the game makers are being greedy by gaining money from the advertising but not offering the game at a reduced price.
With the growth of the internet, advergames have proliferated, often becoming the most visited aspect of brand websites and becoming an integrated part of brand media planning in an increasingly fractured media environment. LifeSavers started a game site called Candystand that has blossomed to a portal for many different advergames and at its peak was averaging more than 1 million unique visitors a month.[citations needed]
Advergames theoretically promote repeated traffic to websites and reinforce brands. Users choose to register to be eligible for prizes which can help marketers collect customer data. Gamers may invite their friends to participate which could assist promotion from word of mouth, or "viral marketing".
- The first, and clearly most successful advergaming portal has been Wrigley's Candystand.com. Launched by the LifeSavers Company in March 1997, Candystand.com reaches over 5MM unique users each month. The site features over 65 flash and shockwave games.
- In November 2006, Burger King began selling three advergaming titles (entitled Sneak King, Pocketbike Racer and Big Bumpin') for an additional $3.99 ($4.99 in Canada) each with any value meal.
Future of Advergaming
As long as the game delivers a fun pay off, consumers consider it a relevant and valid cultural experience. In recent brand-impact studies, associating a brand with the fun of gaming is known to lift brand metrics such as brand awareness, message association and purchase intent. After playing a game, consumers are more likely to remember not just the brand or product itself, but to associate specific brand attributes with it.
The advergame industry is expected to generate $312.2 million by 2009, up from $83.6 million in 2004, according to Boston research firm Yankee Group.
Advergame Industry Statistics
- Online games are forecast to have 105 million players in 2005. (source: Jupiter Media Metrix)
- 50% of recipients play an ADVERGAME for an average of 25 minutes
- 90% of players, who receive a challenge from a friend, play the game and respond back with their score or statistics
- According to the Entertainment Software Assn., 42% of gamers say they play online games one or more hours a week.
- In-game advertising
- Recruitment tool
- - Fuel Industries citing case studies and providing info on the world of Advergaming
- Analyzing Advergames study A study reviewing advergames
- Advergames.it Reviewing advergames
- Advergaming.fr - French Resources for Advergaming