Video games and advertising = Advergaming. Part II.

The power of advergaming has been already recognized by many, which has been a blessing and a curse of the advergaming industry at the same time. Taking into consideration the image of the controversial image of the video game industry (i.e., games were blamed for causing violent behavior), it is important to distinguish what various types of video games can do for your brand and vice versa.

What are the advantages of placing the advertisements into video games?

Since 2000, advergaming was employed by companies such as Nike, Lego, Burger King, Nabisco, General Motors, ESPN, Pepsi, Nickelodeon, and Paramount as a part of their integrated marketing communication strategy. Many marketers want to incorporate product placements into video games because games provide an interactive 3-D environment capable of making the gaming experience more “real” (including the brands featured in the game).

According to McLean, director of marketing for Double Fusion, an in-game advertising company, the main advantage of advertising placement in the video games is that…”by being three-dimensional and interactive, brands can move past the ‘show me’ paradigm of other media and get into the ‘touch me’ world of true interaction, which offers significantly more bandwidth for communication and for the transference of brand attributes.

One more advantage of product placement in video games, is that “unlike the real world, where advertising assails us from every surface, virtual environments have, until now, remained relatively free of marketing.” Thus, despite some recent studies and reports that pointed out the relative ineffectiveness of product placements in games , advertisers are trying to find ways for consumers to enjoy advertising-as-entertainment, in an attempt to boost both brand recall and sales at the same time.

Just as there are multiple ways to incorporate a brand into a sitcom or a TV show, there are also multiple ways to incorporate a brand into a video game. According to Chen and Ringel (2001), the pivotal characteristic of advergaming is that it goes much further than simply providing a consumer with a possibility of playing free games to encourage traffic on the website; advergaming actually incorporates branding directly into the gaming environment.

What are the disadvantages of placing the advertisements into video games?

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