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Advergames Build A Unique Brand Experience With Consumers
A new media vehicle for brand marketing is through the use of advergames. Advergames are custom-developed online video games created specifically for a brand, where the plot and game-play revolve around a featured product or offering, and are creating a sensation in the advertising world.
In an age of Tivo, iPod, Podcasts, and Xboxes, today's consumers are turning from traditional media to new forms of electronic entertainment, making them increasingly more difficult to reach through traditional advertising mediums. The challenge that marketers face today is finding innovative - and entertaining -opportunities to connect their brand with their targeted audiences.
A new media vehicle for brand marketing is through the use of advergames.
Advergames are custom-developed online video games created specifically for a brand, where the plot and game-play revolve around a featured product or offering. Through word of mouth, offline marketing and online gaming channels, consumers are invited to play these branded games for free. Advergames are typically posted to a special area of an organization's Web site, and are distributed to consumers through e-mail or accessed from popular online gaming portals. Advergames are quickly becoming a natural catalyst for generating viral advertising opportunities.
Studies show that consumers are willing to enjoy hours of free online gaming entertainment for the small price of experiencing subtle product placement and brand messaging in the context of the game. Many leading brands - ranging from Axe, Coca Cola, Dodge, Ford and Nike - have created their own branded video games, which allow consumers to experience their products through branded entertainment.
The key factor in making a successful advergame is incorporating a brand or product into the game to create a realistic and entertaining situation around the game play. An example of this would be if an automobile manufacturer featured the exact make and model of a SUV in an off-roading game. As players advance in the game, they could update to a higher model SUV and also select upgraded vehicle features. Likewise, a brand-name athletic shoe company could feature a sneaker in a basketball advergame.
As players advanced in the game, they could select different models of shoes that would affect their performance and strength of their basketball abilities.
The success of an advergame is easily measured. Because prospect data and contact information is gained from game registration, brands can easily track who is visiting the site, the total accumulated hours of game play, and the number of times a game was referred or e-mailed to a friend - all valuable information to marketers.
Advergames present a tremendous viral branding opportunity for companies to exponentially distribute branded content across a range of audiences.
With consumers increasingly turning from traditional media to new forms of electronic entertainment, it's time for brand marketers to "get their game on" if they want to keep their competitive edge.
David Smith is co-founder of Engage In-Game Advertising, http://www.EngageAdvertising.com , the first independent in-game media company to provide strategic planning and placement services for video game advertising. Learn more about this new approach to target audience advertising at www.engageadvertising.com/gaming_landscape.html .
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