Advergaming has been around for years, but it’s never been more popular than right now—and for good reason.
More and more, consumers congregate online for shopping, research and entertainment purposes. While tactics such as banner ads provide an opportunity to target online, they fail to engage consumers the way advergames can.
An advergame is a form of advertising in video games, in which the video game is developed by or in close collaboration with a corporate entity for purposes of advertising a brand-name product.
Games differ from other forms of entertainment mainly because play requires active participation from consumers. Marketers need to keep in mind the unique characteristics of a “lean-in” game experience when deciding on the best features.
Brand-based advergaming is an ingenious method for avoiding ad fatigue with viewers. Companies are able to promote their products through integrating into a game branding elements, resulting in an increase in brand awareness and user dialogue with their friends and family in regards to the game and consequently the product advertised.
Is Advergaming Right for You?
If there has ever been a myth that has been further debunked than any other in 2020, it is that of game campaigns only appealing to young males. This is obviously no longer the case as study after study has revealed that any and all demographics can be reached one way or another through playing a game campaign if the research and planning have been well laid out in advance for your product or service.
The key is to be smart about integrating your brand into the game. It sounds obvious, but even if you know that Sudoku is, say, the most popular game online right now and you’ve got a car company, it maybe doesn’t make sense to do that. It’s got to make sense with your brand.
Successful Examples Of Advergaming Campaigns
For a better understanding of how advergame's work, we gathered a few examples of successful advergames over the years.
Chipotle teamed up with Moonbot Studios to create an ad for a campaign launched a few years ago. The game was a runaway success, in fact, the message and success of the campaign were so impressive that it was written about in the New York Times, Time Magazine, and countless other publications, even further propelling its success.
The main takeaway from Chipotle’s campaign is that you should make your advergame free to avoid blocking potential users. No matter how famous your brand is, customers won’t agree to pay for an ad. Further, you should focus on offering high-quality elements inside your game.
Gaming seemed to have a theme in the ’90s. Many developers aimed to create a mascot that was full of attitude and "too cool for school". During the game’s construction 1992, Zool aimed to compete with other platformers including Sonic the Hedgehog and Mario Bros.
Zool was originally a game developed about a side-scrolling Gremlin Ninja. It wasn't until late in the development stage that the team faced budget issues and then resorted to converting Zool into an advergame for iconic lollipop brand Chupa Chups.
The obvious scattering of Chupa Chups' logo and lollipops throughout levels has made this game more iconic than it probably deserves.
Lego is one of those brands that you can't help but applaud. Between having the property rights to multiple iconic franchises and just creating an iconic toy line, the company just know how to market and how to build an empire.
One of the strongest examples of advergaming can be found across the Lego brand games that can be found in all mobile device app stores. They are both free and entertaining, plus with the addition of AR, they have only become more engaging over time.
Lego has found a way to combine their app technology with their actual product bricks. Creating a drive for users to interact with both mediums and post about their creative builds.
One of the most unassuming advergames on this list has to be “Crazy Taxi.” The high energy gameplay has you zipping through the city attempting to pick-up and drop-off customers in your Taxi, all while the city is littered with branding from real-life brands such as KFC, Levi's and Pizza Hut, among others.
This form of Brandification marketing is on a scale that leaves Zool looking rather tame. This amount of in-game branding only helps this video game feel more grounded in a realistic setting.
Who would have thought that VR games could convince players to buy various products? If you browse through the games listed on Google Play you can easily find Doritos VR Battle, an action game which uniquely promotes certain flavours of Doritos. Again, the purpose is to reach a wider market and to make users remember your brand.
Although VR can be limiting in some ways, the game still had a social media component that furthered its exposure, as well as Doritos packaging provided unique codes for in-game weapon unlocks, which encouraged players to purchase more Dorito products.
Widely regarded as the greatest advergame of all time, Chex Quest took an already widely popular game (DOOM) and not only made it available to a much wider audience of younger gamers by lowering the violence level but also boosted “Chex” sales by over 200%. This game still has a cult following that leaves people anxious for a follow-up.
This game created brand awareness within the form of an online game that was familiar to many demographics.
Users are responsive to game advertising because the content is professionally developed, and the consumer’s awareness of this point is high. In fact, two-thirds of all mobile gamers know their content costs money to develop and is brought to them by advertisers.
In-game reward advertising represents an ad format 81% all mobile game players prefer, and it’s easy to see why.