terça-feira, 14 de fevereiro de 2017

Defining “advergame”, “product placement in games” and “in-game advertising”

According to Cavallini (2006), the notion of advergame – a neologism formed from the juxtaposing of the words “advertise” and “game” – could be described as a strategy for marketing that uses games, mainly electronic, to advertise brands and products. That includes a large range that goes from complex games that are developed specifically for advertising purposes to common casual games. The Internet and video game consoles are great environments to use this strategy. Mobile media (smartphones and tablets) are already being tested by companies, which chose this marketing strategy too. For instance, the Brazilian branch of the soft drink brand Fanta launched in 2015 a hot site with ten advergames. Developed by Sioux Studio, the games emphasized Fantas’s branding features like happiness, friendship, radical sports and music. All the features of the brand appeared in campaigns displayed on television, magazines, movie theaters and on the Internet are present in the game; therefore, we can conclude that the game is an advertising piece like any other.

Cavallini (2006) also discusses the idea of product placement in games as a strategy that inserts a company’s product inside the gaming interface and context. The characters in the game Devil May Cry wear pants with the Diesel brand in evidence. In Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell - Pandora Tomorrow, the character uses a Sony Ericsson p900 smartphone to solve missions, so the player virtually experiences the use of the device. In Worms 3D, by SEGA Studio, the characters drink a can of Red Bull energy drink in order to jump higher. In the last released UFC game, we can see the fighters wearing shorts and gloves from famous sporting brands. It is very important to highlight that this kind of strategy, as everything in marketing, needs its context aligned with the target audience. In all previous examples, the product fits in the gaming universe and dialogues with the players.

Another fundamental keyword in this context is in-game advertising. As Herrewijn and Poels (2011) define, in-game advertising refers to the use of games as a medium for the delivery of advertisements, and the authors point out that there is one player branding experience during the gameplay. In this type of strategy, we can notice the use of banners, posters, radio spots, digital ads and billboards mixed to the game’s landscape. In Virtua Tennis 3, as an example, it is possible to see Bridgestone tires and Citizen watches billboards all around the scenario. Both brands are present, sponsoring the real tennis matches, so it is very pertinent to be in the virtual game, creating a deeper sense of immersion to the player.

In this topic, we are discussing examples developed for consoles, personal computers and mobile media. However, the advergaming strategy is not something created in the Internet age. In the beginning of the 1980s, we already could find some very interesting cases in the Atari platform (as we discussed in this old post here).

Note: this post is part of a complete paper about "games as marketing tools". Soon, I hope to share the complete content in another post.



CAVALLINI, Ricardo. (2006). O marketing depois de amanhã. São Paulo: Digerati Books.

HERREWIJN, Laura. & POELS, Karolien (2011). Putting Brands into Play: How Player Experiences Influence the Effectiveness of In-Game Advertising. Proceedings of the DiGRA (Digital Games Research Association), 6, 1-19. Available here.

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