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Advertising and Games Opportunities, Pitfalls, and Competition David J Edery WW Games Portfolio Planner Microsoft, Xbox Live Arcade Blog: Upcoming book: “For Fun and Profit: How Video Games are Transforming the Business World”

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advertising and games

Advertising and Games

Opportunities, Pitfalls, and Competition

David J Edery

WW Games Portfolio Planner

Microsoft, Xbox Live Arcade


Upcoming book: “For Fun and Profit:

How Video Games are Transforming the Business World”

(Not sponsored or endorsed by Microsoft)

research challenges
Research Challenges
  • Avoided studies funded by the game industry
  • Most university studies are problematic
    • Focus on a single genre (i.e. racing)
    • Focus on static billboards
    • Very specific population (i.e. college students)
    • Small sample sizes (i.e. 10 to 50 respondents)
    • Small play times (i.e. one 15-minute session)
    • Focus on brand recall, not subconscious effects
research challenges cont
Research Challenges (cont.)
  • Therefore, I’ve partially relied on:
    • More general psychology research
    • Research specific to film/TV product placements
      • Placements date back to 1940
      • Research is, as a result, more prevalent and thorough
    • A few good, independent, game-specific studies
integral vs non integral ads
Integral vs Non-Integral Ads
  • Ads are highly integrated (or not) with a game
  • Integral ads:
    • A car you drive (gameplay)
    • A camera used to solve missions (gameplay & plot)
    • A brand prominently featured in cutscenes (plot)
  • Non-integral ads:
    • Typical billboards alongside a road
    • Soda machines that aren’t part of a puzzle or plot
implicit vs explicit memory
Implicit vs. Explicit Memory
  • Explicit memory:
    • Triggered by high-involvement stimuli
    • The result of conscious processing
    • Integral ads usually get stored here
  • Implicit memory:
    • Triggered by low-involvement stimuli
    • The things you “miss” when focused elsewhere
    • Non-integral ads usually get stored here
    • Note: gameplay is generally “high-involvement”
implicit memory
Implicit Memory
  • Influences our behavior w/o conscious recall
    • “Mere exposure effect” and “priming”
    • MEE: Japanese ideographs (1)
    • MEE: polygons displayed for imperceptible durations (2)
    • Priming: words associated with the elderly (3)
  • Leads to increased brand affinity
    • Mars Pathfinder spikes the sales of Mars candy (4)
explicit memory
Explicit Memory
  • Storage in explicit memory equals:
    • Conscious brand recall
    • Comprehension of product & brand attributes
    • Increased brand affinity, if ad well-implemented
      • The opposite, otherwise!
  • Examples of integral ads “done well”
    • Sony Ericson phone placements in Splinter Cell
    • E.T. and Reese’s Pieces … saved the candy (1)
persuasion knowledge
Persuasion Knowledge
  • People recognize and resist persuasion (1)
  • Good placements aren’t seen as persuasion(2)
    • Except possibly outside of the game, which is OK (3)
    • Goldeneye and BMW Z3 … “$100m exposure”
fit congruence
Fit / Congruence
  • Incongruent ads increase recall and PK
  • Negative effects demonstrated in TV study (1)
  • Resist temptation to stand out in unnatural ways:
    • i.e. Don’t put trucks on a skii slope as “obstacles”
    • i.e. No ads for “current” products in distant future
    • i.e. Don’t fill a city with billboards for a single brand
what gamers say integral non
What Gamers Say(Integral & Non)
  • 2007 study: GameSpot + Internet Ad Bureau (1)
  • 73% did not mind in-game advertising
  • 14% thought in-game ads spoil the experience
  • Key: this is all predicated on ad recognition
    • The whole point is to eliminate recognition
    • Study revealed confusion as to what constitutes ads
mood other associations
Mood & Other Associations
  • We have associational brains
    • I.e. happy TV & film = greater ad effectiveness (1)
    • Avoid sad portions of a game
    • i.e. Don’t put baby products in a bloody shooter
    • i.e. Don’t put Dasani on the side of a filthy truck
      • They should request “clean textured" locations only
  • In short, congruence alone is not enough
summary what works when
Summary: What Works When?
  • Integral ads (done well):
    • Increase brand recall
    • Generate positive press
    • Can convey useful brand/product info
    • Increases purchase intent, even for serious purchases
  • Non-integral ads (done well):
    • Increase brand affinity, but not recall
    • Can be employed cheaply and dynamically
    • Can’t convey complex meaning
    • Particularly good for impulse purchase decisions
advergame research
Advergame Research
  • Little research exists on this topic
    • Preference to handle tech prior to purchase (1)
      • Laptops, camcorders, PDAs, etc
      • Opportunity to outperform non-interactive ads
    • Increased preference w/ children & Froot Loops (2)
      • 65% preference over other cereals vs 35% control
      • Ineffective before age 7; potential ceiling effects
    • High brand recall rates(3)
      • Sadly, marred by small sample & other issues
demonstrative advergames
Demonstrative Advergames
  • Exploring educational & persuasive games
    • Ian Bogost’sPersuasive Games
    • MIT and U. Wisconsin Madison’s Education Arcade
  • Examples:
    • Fiskars Prune to Win
    • Yoshinoya
sponsorships the lost video art
SponsorshipsThe Lost Video Art?
  • NA spent $14.9b on sponsorships in ’07 (1)
    • Double-digit increases for the past several years
    • Greatest percentage: sports, NASCAR, etc
    • What happened to sponsored video content, i.e. soaps?
  • Classic psychology: create desire to reciprocate
  • Potential: old retail games, casual games, etc
  • Sponsored virtual currency
    • i.e. WildTangent + AdventureQuest
the coming wave promogames burger king
The Coming WavePromogames / Burger King
  • 40% increase in profit for the quarter
  • 3.2m games sold
  • Many millions of hours of brand exposure
  • This is only the beginning!
    • More companies will get in
    • Budgets will rise as companies fight for mindshare
the coming wave promogames webkinz
The Coming WavePromogames / Webkinz
  • 1m+ Webkinz sold in two years (1)
  • Longer visits than Facebook or MySpace (2)
  • Already being emulated:
    • $5 to $10m budget per virtual Disney property (3)
    • Mattel launched $59 Barbie mp3 / virtual world
  • Promotion? Revenue? Enhanced engagement? Expect to see a lot more of these…
suggested books
Suggested Books

The Psychology of Entertainment Media: Blurring the Lines Between Entertainment and Persuasion

L. J. Shrum, 2004

Persuasive Games: The Expressive Power of Videogames

Ian Bogost, 2007

suggested articles
Suggested Articles

Experiencing Interactive Advertising beyond Rich Media: Impacts of Ad Type and Presence on Brand Effectiveness in 3DGaming Immersive Virtual Environments.

Grigorovici & Constantin, Journal of Interactive Advertising, 2004

The Effectiveness of “In-Game” Advertising: Comparing College Students’ Explicit and Implicit Memory for Brand Names

Yang, Roskos-Ewoldsen, Dinu & Arpan, Journal of Advertising, 2006

More than meets the eye: Investigating the hidden impact of brand placements in television magazines

Matthes, Schemer & Wirth, Intl Journal of Advertising, 2007

The Effects of Playing an Advergame on Young Children’s Perceptions, Preferences, and Requests

Mallinckrodt & Mizerski, Journal of Advertising, 2007