You may have read reports about the scrutiny being given to online advertising by food marketers. I have also noted how advertisers are working their way into some of the online gamers and virtual communities. This research report from Phoenix Marketing International also reminds us that advertising is no further than the video game player console (especially timely as PlayStation 3 mob outbreaks are occurring). From the press release -
The first wave of Phoenix’s Video GAMERS (Game Advertising & Measurement Evaluation Research Syndication) study used 1,502 online interviews from active gamers equally split between males and females (18 or older) to determine which brands were recalled the most—Phoenix classified an active gamer as someone who has played a video game on a recent console or portable in the last 30 days and has either rented, purchased or received a game in that time frame. The study found that 42 percent recalled advertising from within a game.
So which brands topped the list? In no particular order: Nike, Adidas, Reebok, Coke, Pepsi, Mountain Dew, Gatorade, Ford, BMW, Samsung, McDonald’s, KFC, Burger King, and Axe.
Perhaps not surprisingly, gamers who played sports games and racing games were more likely to remember in-game ads. After all, games in those genres are far more conducive to product placement than other titles. The study found that 54 percent of gamers who played a sports title recalled some form of advertising. In fact, four out of five of the top games for in-game ad recall were sports titles—FIFA World Cup, NHL 2K7, Madden NFL 07, NBA 2K7. The one non-sports title to make the top five was GTA: San Andreas.
“The ultimate goal of advertising is to make a person want to go out and buy that product. Even with a natural fit of banners around a stadium, very few gamers are likely to consider a product just because they see it in the football stadium of their favorite video game... In order for ‘in-game’ advertising to have an effect in the console world, it needs to be incorporated as part of the game-play as seen with many of the Massively Multiplayer Online Games. In-game advertising is still in its early stages and there are many things to learn.”
The investment for this study is $7,500 per wave. It would be interesting to see groups interested in the public health impacts of other forms of digital entertainment marketing explore this area in more detail. The ubiquity of the advertising is what begins to make it effective at the behavioral level, and not just in changing awareness or recall of the message or product. Finding ways to apply Critical Social Marketing to these applications, digital media literacy programs for consumers and other forms of counter-marketing are important areas to explore before 'cheating' and moving only at the public policy level. Chasing down marketers for unhealthy products must feel like Whack A Mole at times.