The 5 Different forms of Gamification Marketing

Sunday, November 1, 2020

Gamification has been widely applied in marketing strategies over the years, yet it can take several forms. Forbes, in 2013 estimated that over 70% of their 'Global 2000 Companies' list were surveyed that they plan to use gamification for the purposes of marketing and customer retention moving forward. 

So what is Gamification? One of the most popular definitions can be found in an academic paper from 2011 where gamification was defined as "the addition of game elements to non-game activities". Within the marketing industry, gamification serves the purpose of engaging and motivating users to perform actions in association with a brand to boost sales.

With that being said here are the 5 different forms of Gamification Marketing.


Transmedia is the practice of taking a media property and extending it into a different medium to either expand upon the material or support it. In 1997, Nintendo attempted their own form of transmedia with their N64 release of '007: GoldenEye'. This was a triple-A game, that was created to bring more attention to the film of the same title's release.

The video game version of the Bond classic ended up making more money in the end than the film itself.

It’s no surprise then that 20 years later the video game industry is now 4x larger than the movie industry, as playing games has beat out watching movies. Perhaps we will begin seeing advertisements for video games within movies.


Brandification in its simplest form consists of in-game advertising for real-world products & brand awareness. This could look like messages, images or videos promoting a brand, product or service within a video games' world. 

Cases of Brandification in video games trace back to as early as the 80s but one of the most recent case studies of Brandification come from Elon Musk and the team at Tesla. Tesla is using Player Unknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG) as a platform to market their cars. PUBG, one of my personal favourites, is one of the most played and viewed competitive video games in the world right now. 

Tesla, as of July 2020 placed their cars within the game as drivable vehicles for players, in order to increase customer engagement and time spent with their product. Clever!


An advergame is a gamification technique that sees an online video game promote a particular brand, product, or marketing message by integrating it into a game template, created expressly for promotional purposes. Advergames these days are often commissioned for mobile devices to support other media, not replace them.

Advergames first became popular in the 90s with soft drink-themed games like "Pepsi Man" and “Spot” from Brands like Pepsi and 7UP. Advergames have remained the optimal form of gamified marketing. In 2019, branded games took the form of popular mobile games like 'Candy Crush' & 'Temple Run' to promote products and services. These are done through companies like Gamify or popular DIY website platforms like WIX or Shopify. Advergames have been proven to get higher levels of engagement and redemption than more traditional advertisements.

Experiential Marketing

Experiential marketing can be defined as providing a fully immersive and interactive event that is linked to a brand campaign. Experiential marketing, while mostly taking place in physical locations can also take place within AR & VR formats as well.

Nissan partnered with Gamify to create an experiential marketing campaign that was hosted at the Fast 5 Netball series. This campaign was hosted on a multi-screen booth that required players to swat away incoming Netballs in a 180° view. The top players on the leaderboard were announced Netball related prizes in the stadium prior to the Grand Final Game.

Volkswagen is also known for doing experiential marketing campaigns, like the piano stairs, bottle bank arcade and the speed camera lottery. These cases are all perfect examples of participants being enticed into taking a break from their everyday lives to have a unique and fun experience that’s positively associated with whichever brand is hosting the campaign.

Alternate Reality Games

Alternate reality games (ARGs) are online experiences that use the real world to tell a story through user actions. Typically ARGs leverage social media & technologies to some degree to provide information to participants.

Whereas traditional gaming is designed to help people escape from reality, ARGs are actually designed to make reality more engaging. ARGs are similar to transmedia, however, the strong reliance on real-world actions is what sets ARGs apart.

A well-known example of an ARG is the online community experience, “I Love Bees”. A puzzle-solving game with supporting material for Halo 2’s release. This ARG had an online community of over 600,000 people working collaboratively to unlock exclusive clips and material related to Halo 2’s release.

Also, The Dark Knight’s ARG was an iconic scavenger hunt that was set up to promote the movie’s release.

ARGs are a perfect way to create a deeper connection between participants and a brand through an earned experience.


While gamification marketing can take one of the five aforementioned forms, gamification marketing is mostly referring to advergames, as they are the cheapest, quickest and least disruptive form of gamification marketing experience available.

To find out more about advergames, contact Gamify today.

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