In-game advertising fails to engage

January 15, 2007 at 9:20 am 1 comment

gaze plot of a driving game

Mark (MindShare Shanghai) writes: I saw this story about new research into the  (lack of) effectiveness of in-game advertising and product placement. The key highlights of the story are:

  • The survey was conducted by a UK research agency called Bunnyfoot
  • 120 game players participated in the study, all aged 18 or above.
  • Players were assigned to a particular title spread across 8 sports. Titles included Gran Turismo 3, NBA Live and Project Gotham Racing 3.
  • The results demonstrated a significantly poor level of engagement with consumers and exposed an apparent weakness within games to efficiently capture consumer attention.
  • Highest scores were found with NBA Live and Smackdown Vs Raw; however, recall and recognition figures were surprisingly low; a pattern evident across all titles.
  • PGR3 elicited no consumer engagement at all, resulting in 0% on all scores.

It’s interesting to see what appears to be some properly conducted and robust research into the actual effects on gamers of media placement in the games.   That the engagement levels were very low doesn’t really surprise me.  Consider that for years we have been referring to different media environments as a variation on the themes of lean forward/lean back; expansive/reductive; different enjoyment/interest levels.   

It’s fairly safe to assume that most gamers will be highly involved and ‘lean forward’, but at the same time, they are interacting, which means their brain processing is focusing on how to escape the flesh eating alien that’s chasing them, how to get their virtual Ferrari past the virtual Porsche in front or how to tackle Cristiano Ronaldo as he runs towards their goal.  I doubt there is too much brain time or capacity left to actively notice (let alone engage with) periphery product placement.  I’m sure that simple brand and logo exposure must have some effect – one would imagine especially if it copies a real world situation (eg. Nike perimeter boards at the real Old Trafford and in the virtual game), but this article does suggest that in game exposure may not be quite so lucrative as some people (and vendors) claim it to be. From a planning point of view my advice is to try out the medium if you have the opportunity and believe it is right for your brand, the message and the target audience.  However, do a thorough evaluation beforehand to set benchmarks and push to do some evaluation, so you really understand the value of the contribution afterwards.

Entry filed under: digital, gaming, measurement, sports, trends, virtual worlds.

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. deviant  |  January 15, 2007 at 3:21 pm

    I think on a broader level the designers need to create “sticky” content. Here’s a good link to the latest book that addresses why some ideas are winners:


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