Have you ever wondered if there is an advertising and marketing method that involves video games but is different from the usual annoying videos and banners?
If it’s real. Hundreds of brands use strategies with games called advergames. Maybe you’ve ever played one of these video games to earn a discount at a restaurant or earn points for a free product.
Here we tell you everything you need to know about advergames, what they consist of and we show you some success stories in marketing campaigns.
What is advergaming?
Advergaming is an advertising technique that consists of advertising brands through video games. This with the intention of improving relations between companies and the public or reaching more users.
Games linked to an advergaming strategy are generally free, distributed online and ideally compatible with different devices (mobile and desktop).
Although each advergame is different, it is common for the protagonist of the video game to be the brand, the product or the service that you want to promote with the strategy (we will show you examples later).
Video games differ from other types of advertising content because they require the active participation of users. Ultimately, games are an ingenious and fun way to prevent the public from becoming fatigued by advertising.
How do you know if your brand could benefit from an advergaming strategy?
To clarify the definition of advergaming a bit, let’s review some of its characteristics and benefits for brands:
1. It is not about putting up ads, but about including branding.
Advergaming does not consist of inserting advertising into any video game, such as when banners or intermediate videos appear in video games.
In advergaming, the brand is the main focus of the game: everything revolves around some particularity of the company or its products or services.
2. Voluntary interaction is everything.
Advergames provide a non-intrusive alternative to connect with the public. Users are those who enter to play voluntarily and knowing that it is a game made by a brand.
3. Rewards for playing.
Although it is not a requirement, many times brands establish clear rewards for players: discounts, prizes on products or services or incentives for purchases or subscriptions.
4. Improve brand awareness.
Advergames have been proven to increase brand awareness among users, which could be their biggest advantage.
The intention is not so much that they immediately exit the game to buy a product or service. But with these games you can be sure that they will take your brand into account when they need it.
Also, if the game is interactive enough, it can encourage conversations between family and friends about your brand.
5. They work for any type of brand or product.
One of the great advantages of advergames is that they work for all industries and markets. It doesn’t matter if you sell food, tires, beauty products, or legal advice. It all depends on the game you design and if the users enjoy it.
6. Long-term results.
With traditional advertisements, people often forget about the products after the campaigns are over.
But advergames stay on users’ devices for much longer. This simple fact has the power to constantly remind them that your game is fun and that your brand deserves their attention, even when people know it is an advertising strategy.
7. They work for a wide variety of demographic groups.
A few years ago it was believed that video game campaigns only attracted young men.
But in 2021 this myth was displaced: multiple studies have shown that advergames manage to reach diverse demographic groups, as long as proper research is done prior to game design.
The key to advergames lies in being creative about how to integrate your brand into the game. Yes, it is easier said than done, but for that reason not all companies are measured to create an advergame.
What are some cons of advergames?
Although advergaming offers many possibilities at the design and deployment level, it has some contraindications; that more than disadvantages are challenges that its development implies. For example:
● It can be expensive.
Although today developing a mobile video game is much cheaper than before, advergaming and mobile advertising campaigns can be expensive.
This is because it is not only about creating a fun game, but the product is made based on the marketing and advertising objectives of the brand.
But it is highly recommended to invest a little more in advergaming than in intrusive banners: it is a much friendlier advertising technique.
● It requires a lot of creativity.
We all know that users are not going to be interested in your game if it is not as fun or if it looks a lot like the hundreds of games they have already played over and over again.
That is why your advergaming strategy must be novel, fun, in short: extraordinary. And for that it is necessary to convince users that your game deserves your attention.
● Requires promotion.
It may seem strange that you should promote a banner ad that you initially created to promote a product.
But the reality is that even if you have created a good game, if you don’t promote it enough your efforts can be wasted. That is why it is necessary to develop a separate marketing campaign for the game.
Successful examples of advergaming
Below we will show you some success stories with advergames from all over the world. Please note that many of these campaigns were for a limited time and therefore the games are no longer accessible.
Seven years ago, Chipotle launched this campaign called Scarecrow and it is likely that the world has not yet surpassed its high level of aesthetics, marketing, animation and communication.
It is a two-time Emmy Award-winning short film and mobile video game created in collaboration with agency CAA Marketing and Moonbot Studios. The short tells the story of a scarecrow in a dystopian future (not far from our reality) in which food is ultra-processed and animals are mistreated to produce food.
The animated character dreams of a better world and begins to grow plants that replace the processed food of the big factory. Thus, the video game consists of coping with the arduous work of producing healthy and environmentally friendly food for people.
Although it is only available for iOS, the game is free and that makes users see with much more kindness the fact that it is an advertising game.
Lego is an exemplary brand in many ways, and one of them is how they manage to naturally integrate their products into their marketing strategies. It is understandable that being toys, video games flow perfectly with the product.
Although this is an advantage, it does not always work out well. Lego stands out among other toy brands because it has a large number of free games available for mobile, they are fun, creative, eye-catching and addictive.
Lego has managed to combine its technology with its legendary plastic construction cubes. Their video games make users want to interact with both media and share their physical creations on networks.
The experience of Donut Papi, and many other brands, shows that it is not necessary to be a large multinational to create a successful advergame.
Donut Papi is a small but thriving donut shop in Sydney, Australia. Although they have generated a large and loyal community on social networks and in the city; He wanted to increase traffic to his website and gain more engagement with his brand.
That is why they thought of a strategy with which they could enlarge their databases and increase their popularity among their customers, both online and in physical stores. They teamed up with Gamify to launch a championship game where customers could win a box of free donuts for the best score of the week.
In the six weeks of the championship, the brand managed to encourage players to enter their name and email as a requirement to receive the prizes in case they win. Thus, Donut Papi managed to duplicate its existing database in just the first two weeks of the campaign.
Chex Quest is considered by many critics as one of the best advergames ever. Created for a cereal brand in the United States, it was adapted from a very popular video game called Doom. Unlike his inspiration, Chex’s version is suitable for young players and children, because it tones down the violence.
This game was able to dramatically increase product sales in the United States by building brand awareness with a game that is very familiar to various demographics.
Chez Quest is so popular that it is still available for download through Steam, offers multiplayer functionalities, and even has a list on Spotify to experience the full thrill of the video game with the best sound.
KFC Japan commissioned Gamify with a marketing campaign that would not only inform about a new line of shrimp products, but also incentivize them to try it out with a discount voucher for playing.
The food chain saw it as a challenge for users to switch from traditional chicken to shrimp. So the concept of the campaign was that in the game the shrimp (Ebi) were trying to dominate the world of KFC and the players had to protect the castle of the brand.
22% of people who played the advergame redeemed their prize voucher at a KFC store.
Advergames are video games focused on promoting a particular brand or product. They are advertising and marketing strategies that integrate the same brand and / or product into the dynamics of the game.
In general, brands have rewards for those who play their advergames, such as discounts or redeemable bonuses.
Among their great advantages is that they can considerably improve brand awareness among the public and generate conversations around the brand.
Although it can be expensive, and requires a lot of creativity, the benefits of advergames are worth it.