Growing up I played a lot of video games. This was back in the 1980s, before video games took on a level of realism that’s simply stunning today. I remember playing the games, which seem basic from a graphics perspective but were quite cutting edge then, and getting so involved in them. Perhaps it was a foreshadowing of my future career in marketing, but I remember thinking that the games would be so much more realistic if they had real-life icons in them, like a McDonalds or Sears or something real.

Fast forward to today, and sure enough advergaming is really mainstream. The games of today are peppered with ads that are so well placed and integrated, they serve to pull us into the fantasy world that video games create, only to make them more realistic. These are cost effective and powerful ways to reach specific audiences, and its unobtrusive. Again, following the theme of blurring that marketing line, advergaming is the epitome of entertainment advertising.

There’s a good advergaming blog that I stumbled upon, The blog’s author captures why advergaming is so effective:

What truly makes advergames a unique new medium is their ability for consumers to interact with the products in a fun and engaging manner. The internet and video games capture a tremendous amount of attention from today’s youth, and not using these to their fullest extent would be a waste. Advergames are quite different from traditional media and even product placement because of the interactive quality”

Interactivity–your audience is already engaged when playing a video game. They are already tuning out other distractions. Their minds go into a place that’s not bound by realism. It’s really akin to hypnosis, where you can get so engrossed in the game you lose track of time. Ask an online Madden player if they’ve ever spent an entire afternoon playing Madden 08, and totally lost track of time. In that mental state, those ads really do resonate. And the best part–the consumer actually wants those ads put in the game. It’s win-win for the consumer and the advertiser.

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