Advergaming is a relatively new advertising technique that involves product or service promotion through games. Apart from driving brand awareness, this method also significantly boosts customer engagement.
Usually, the games created as part of an advergaming campaign can be accessed online and are free to play with the usual protagonist being the business product, service, or brand.
In advergaming, the product or brand is at the very core of the game.
Advantages Of Advergaming
In today’s highly interconnected world, marketing departments can use the power of social media to amplify their campaigns and provide viral advergaming experiences.
One of the key features that stand behind a successful advergaming campaign is the multiplayer option as it has the power to keep players engaged for longer periods of time.
Other benefits of advergaming include:
- Advergaming is non-intrusive
- Brand recognition is much higher than with regular digital advertising
- Games can be made to engage all ages and demographics
Even though advergames utilize a wide range of fun game elements, there are some things marketers should be aware of when injecting them into their strategy. You need to think carefully about whether you show your ads before the game is played or during gameplay. Such choices are dependent on your target audience.
It’s also important for your advergame to be a solid game on its own and allow access through other sites instead of hosting it exclusively on your own.
Examples Of Advergaming
There are tons of examples of advergaming done successfully. Below, we’ll take a look at 12 of the most effective advergames that brought companies serious financial returns.
1. Burger King
Fast-food giant Burger King joined the gaming world by releasing three pieces of hooking entertainment featuring the brand’s official mascot as the main character.
The games are Big Pumpin’, PocketBike Racer, and Sneak King and were available for Xbox and Xbox 360.
They were offered as part of a promotion during the winter holidays of 2006 with the aim of boosting sales, which the company accomplished with great effect.
The company has even revealed that the games managed to create a massive fan base, with copies sold totaling 3.2 million. The Burger King Games could be obtained with the purchase of a value meal for an extra $3.99.
The M&Ms marketing team took inspiration from a classic game called Connect 4 to create their advergame. The point of the game was to put together at least 3 M&Ms of the same color so that they could disappear – a gaming mechanic famously popularized by the creators of Tetris. The company also created an adventure video game for the Sony PlayStation called “M&Ms: Shell Shocked,” which was free to download and featured more than 20 levels of fun gameplay.
Lego is a brand that certainly needs no introduction. Along with its world-famous toy line and merchandise, it created a series of super successful games for PC, consoles, and mobile apps. Their mobile games are free to play and are said to be highly addictive.
The toy company is continuously coming up with new advergames to promote its products and merchandise and it’s one of the leading brands in terms of successful game advertisements.
4. Chupa Chups
In 1992, Gremlin Graphics teamed up with Chupa Chups – the world’s most famous lollipops – to create Zool, a game set in a colorful land made of candy.
The game’s protagonist is called Zool, a ninja ant whose mission is to move through the different levels while trying to collect as much candy as possible… And that’s where the Chupa Chups brand gets to shine most brightly.
Back in 1999, Pepsi released its first advergame using its official mascot, Pepsiman. The PlayStation game did not bring the company the success it was hoping for, but thanks to YouTube, it has now been resurrected and people can’t get enough of it.
Even though the gameplay is not revolutionary in any way, Pepsiman has become a hit for its weird storyline, monstrously bad graphics, high level of difficulty, and the overall strangeness of the entire game.
In 2016 Doritos released “Doritos VR Battle”, a virtual reality advergame that features a two-player mode in which players can challenge each other through VR headsets. The game features monsters to fight and obstacles like mountains and cliffs to overcome. During their journey, players need to collect as many Doritos as possible and the one who gets the most, walks away a winner. In an effort to further promote their product, Doritos invited celebrities from all over the world to play the game and shared videos of the competition on YouTube. This brought an enormous amount of new audiences to their advergame and a renewed interest in their iconic crispy snack.
Chipotle, a Mexican grill food maker, joined forces with Moonbot Studios to produce an advergame for a campaign launched some years ago. The game is called Chipotle Scarecrow and it became a massive hit, which brought it the attention of the New York Times, Time Magazine, and many other publications that helped boost its popularity even more. By making its game free to play, Chipotle was able to draw in many new customers while providing a fun experience for them to enjoy.
More than a decade ago Magnum teamed up with Swedish developer Lowe Brindfors to create an advergame to promote its world-famous ice creams.
The game is a side-scroller that allows players to go through websites of popular brands and collect chocolates to win points. Every web page visited has its own music theme in accordance with the particular brand.
The game was a smash hit that engaged more than 7 million players!
9. Donut Papi
Donut Papi proved that in order to create a successful advergame you don’t have to be an industry giant.
Donut Papi is an Australian donut shop based in Sydney. Even though they were able to draw in a large number of customers, they wanted to boost traffic to their web page and further popularize the brand online.
To accomplish this, Donut Papi collaborated with Gamify to create a championship game where people could win a box of free donuts for the best weekly score. Six weeks into the championship, the company was able to motivate people to enter their names and email address to be sent their prizes should they win. That’s how they were able to double the number of people on their database just two weeks into the campaign.
10. Chex Quest
Nearly three decades ago, Digital Café released a video game that could be found in a cereal box. It was inspired by the popular fps shooter Doom, but the level of violence needed to be minimized due to the target age group (6 to 9-year-olds). Players could step into the shoes of the Chex Warrior to save other cereal characters from an alien invasion.
The advergame worked like a charm, boosted cereal sales to around 250%, and even won multiple advertisement industry awards.
In 2020, the beloved game also got a remake with new playable characters, multiplayer mode, and lots of other exciting features.
11. Crazy Taxi
Crazy Taxi was a hit advergame in which players could cruise around with the mission of picking up customers in a city packed with advertisements for popular companies such as Pizza Hut, Levi’s, KFC, and many others.
Needless to say, this approach brought a lot of marketing success to multiple brands while also giving a real-world feeling to a video game.
12. Fifa Football
The Fifa video game series is perhaps the most popular virtual football game of all time. Apart from serving as an advertising arm for the Fifa brand, it also features plenty of other advertisements for popular brands. These include Visa, Sony, Coca-Cola, and many more. Many of the ads are carefully placed in spots that players are already used to seeing advertisements in real-life football matches. That’s how the video game manages to successfully advertise products without intruding on the player experience.
Advergames are an extremely effective tool to promote a product or service. They are advertising vehicles that integrate the brand or product into the gaming experience.
Usually, companies offer rewards to people who play their advergames. These can include discounts, vouchers, and other bonuses.
One of the greatest advantages of advergaming is that it can massively boost brand awareness among people and ignite conversations all over the globe.
Even though such a campaign can be pricey and requires a lot of creativity and work, the pros heavily outweigh the cons.
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