Advergaming – How Does Cognitive Overload Effect Brand Recall?: Differences between In-Game Advertising (IGA) and Advergames

Advergaming – How Does Cognitive Overload Effect Brand Recall?: Differences between In-Game Advertising (IGA) and Advergames

Ayşegül Sağkaya Güngör (Işık University, Turkey), Tuğçe Ozansoy Çadırcı (Yıldız Technical University, Turkey) and Şirin Gizem Köse (Yıldız Technical University, Turkey)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0435-1.ch020


Advergaming serves as a new and valuable form of online advertising, especially for companies that target young consumers. This study examines the impacts of cognitive overload with placement prominence on respondents' brand recall, recognition and brand attitudes. An experiment was conducted on a group of university students with an exposure to an advergame under low and high cognitive load stimulus. Results showed that brands that are placed prominently are better recalled in high cognitive load condition. However, cognitive overload doesn't have any significant effect on the recognition of the main brand in which the advergames is specifically designed. Moreover, there is no difference in recall of subtly placed products in low and high cognitive load conditions. However, there is a significant difference in brand attitude in different cognitive loads. The study both investigated the context of advergames and as well in-game advertising (IGA) situations. The results of the study have both practical and theoretical implications.
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Traditional advertising media are being replaced by new ways to communicate with the customers, and many companies are on game now. Consumers are engaged in a media that is focused on entertainment and this new form of advertising strategy is called branded entertainment. As a new form of branded entertainment (Wise, Bolls, Kim, Venkataraman & Meyer, 2008) advergaming can be defined as placing advertising messages, logos, and trade characters within games (Mallinckrodt & Mizerski, 2007). By the use of advergames, the companies can deliver their advertising messages through video games (Hernandez & Chapa, 2010). On the other hand, in game advertising (IGA), which is usually confused with advergames, is defined as inclusion of products within a digital game (Terlutter & Capella, 2013). There is a difference between advergames and IGA (Winkler & Buckner, 2006). In advergames the products or brands are given a prominent role within the online video game and they have an essential role in gaming experience (Hofmeister-Toth & Nagy, 2011). Most of the time advergames are made available to the consumers via websites and they are mostly free of charge (Grossman, 2005). On the other hand, IGA is the application of the product placement in advergames or in any other type of digital games, e.g. video games. They are sponsored paid placements in which the payment is done to the owner of the advergame. The difference between the general advergame environment and IGA can be seen in Figure 1 and 2.

Figure 1.

The advergame environment in Magnum Advergame

Figure 2.

Example of IGA in Magnum Advergame

The most challenging issue in the design of advergames is not knowing under which conditions advergames can be effective on consumer perceptions (Redondo, 2012). Therefore, understanding the effects of external stimuli like cognitive load on brand recognition and brand recall will provide important evidence about the issue. As brand placements in games have an interactive nature, playing advergames triggers cognitively involving experiences (Cauberghe & DePelsmacker, 2010). The cognitive resources that are available to the audience during message processing situations are called cognitive load (Grigorovici & Constantin, 2004). This study aims to define the possible effects of cognitive load on brand recall for both the main brands and the placed brands in advergames during game play experience.

Advergaming is a technique that offers extensive exposure to branded content. Besides its promotional benefits, the literature on consumer memory on advergames is limited (Hernandez & Minor, 2011). This study aims to investigate a cause-effect relationship between cognitive load and brand recall in the context of an advergame. Also, testing the effectiveness of advergames in terms of brand recognition and brand attitude are considered as fundamental issues and measures (An & Stern, 2011).

In this study an experimental design was used with the manipulation of cognitive load during gameplay. The subjects in the experiment group were given cognitive load objects during the game, and a recall test – which involves exposing to a stimulus – will be used to measure the brand recognition (main brand), brand recall (IGA brands) and brand attitude (main brand) of the subjects. The authors believe that this study will provide useful insights for both academicians and practitioners.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Product Placement: Product placement is the inclusion of a branded product in different media like movies, TV programs or video games.

Advergames: Mostly Internet-based video games which promote a certain brand, company or product.

Brand Recall: Brand recall is a component of brand awareness. The term refers to the ability of consumers remembering a certain brand name after the exposure of a promotional content.

Cognitive Load: Refers to the total amount of mental activity and allocation to a certain task or tasks simultaneously with the task at hand.

In-Game Advertising: Refers to the practice of placing product or inserting advertising content in video games.

Branded Entertainment: Branded entertainment is a new form of advertising. The term basically refers to the act of integrating an advertising message or a brand with other entertainment content with the use of media like TV shows, movies or video games (Also known as Branded Content ).

Brand Recognition: Brand recognition is another component of brand awareness; which refers to the ability of consumers to recognize a certain brand over other ones in a marketplace.

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