Everybody Can Play: An Advergame Overview
Advergaming is an emerging medium in which companies can promote their brand, product, or cause. While some companies can benefits this method of marketing other must be careful when utilizing advergaming. There are several factors that should be considered when using advergames.
The most common use of advergames is to promote a brand or a product. Lifesavers Mini Putt Adventure Game is a great example of this. The product is displayed and incorporated throughout all 18 holes of the game. The game effectively shows all the different flavors Lifesavers has to offer in an engaging golf game.
Advergames can also be used to promote a service. Air Invaders is a game that promotes
Advergames can also be used to help promote social causes. In other words, advergames can be used like public service announcements. The American Cancer Society (ACS) sponsored Smokeout Café. This game was designed to inform people about the ACS’s program to sell orange wristbands whose proceeds will go to directly back into the ACS to inform people about the dangers of smoking. Snackdash, sponsored by the School Food Trust is another PSA oriented advergame. The game informs kids about eating healthy and avoiding junk food in a fun and interactive manner.
The entertainment industry has been making good use of advergames. The band INXS came out with the advergame called Bang the Drum to promote an upcoming album. The game actually lets players drum along with INXS’s popular song I Need You Tonight. NBC also made an online version of their new game show 1 vs. 100. This advergame was not only was a great promotion for the 1 vs. 100 game show but it gave NBC another medium in which to plug some of its other shows.
The most important characteristic of an advergame is its relevancy to the product that the game is trying to promote. BMW’s X3 Adventure is a great example of this. In the game players can actually test drive the X3 on various terrains. While the game is loading players can actually view some of the features that the vehicle offers. The Weather Channel’s Driving Game: A Four Wheel Adventure is another example of a relevant advergame that it similar to the BMW game. Players of the game can type in their zip code and then drive in the weather conditions that their particular area is experiencing at that moment. Players can check the weather in their area and at the same time they can practice driving in those conditions.
Not all advergames do a good job of making the game relevant to the product. Beck’s Beer promoted a Tetris like advergame that had absolutely nothing to do with beer. In the game players had to organize pieces of unattractive furniture into rows. The only way that someone could connect the game with the product is a logo for Beck’s Beer that seemed to have been haphazardly added to the page.
Advergames can be time sensitive which can be a very effect tool if utilized correctly. M&Ms Dark Chocolate Presents 50 Dark Movies Hidden in a Painting was an advergame that was perfect for the Halloween season. The game promoted M&M’s candy coated dark chocolate. The game board was a picture depicting several scenes that represented 50 different scary movies. The object of the game was to guess which scene represented which scene. The timing of the game seemed to be perfect. With Halloween approaching people tend watch more scary movies making this game extremely appropriate for the Halloween season. The National Christmas Tree Association also understands the concept of timing with advergames. Their game the Attack of the Mutant Artificial Christmas Trees encourages people to buy real Christmas trees instead of artificial tree. The game is perfect for the holiday season since it was available right around Thanksgiving during the time when most people are on the hunt for a Christmas tree.
A good characteristic of an advergame is to encourage repeat visits. Flushed Away Underground Adventure is an excellent example of this. The game was released a few weeks before the release of the movie Flushed Away. The game is actually a collection of mini games. Every few days a new game would be released. Players earn points for each game the completed as well as letters in a secret message. The game encouraged players to visit the game site multiple times so that they could play the newly released games as well as earn points and letters for the secret message. This game also is a great example of stickiness. Players are encouraged to stay on the site for a long time because they have several options of game they can play.
Advergames can also be used to obtain information about its players. For example rcade.com and candystand.com require players to register in order to play some of their games. The registration process is free for most sites like this but for most sites players must give some type of personal information. This information usually doesn’t go much further then age, zip code, and gender. This information can be useful to the site because it lets them know what types of people are playing which games, how often they are playing, and even what time of day they are playing.
In conclusion advergaming has many dimensions which should be considered before being used by a company. First of all the company should have a brand, product, service, or cause to promote and they game must be relevant to what it is that is being promoted. Advergames can also be used to collect consumer information. The time of year an advergame is made available can also have major affects on its success. A good advergame also encourages people to visit it multiple times and to stay on that particular site for as along as possible.