Managing Advergames

Managing Advergames

Cãlin Gurau (Groupe Sup. de Co. Montpellier, France)
Copyright: © 2006 |Pages: 8
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-799-7.ch116
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Advergames have been defined as online games that incorporate marketing content (Dobrow, 2004). They are interactive games that are centered around a brand, a product, or a character associated with a brand or a product. The game can be used to demonstrate the use of a product or to associate the product with an activity or a lifestyle. Studies conducted in the U.S. have discovered that games are extremely popular among all categories of online users. A study conducted by Jupiter Media found that in December 2003, 84.6 million people visited online gaming sites (D5 Games, 2004a). This number is projected to reach 104 million by 2007. The preconception that only kids or teenagers are interested in interactive games is contradicted by findings: in the U.S., 66% of the most frequent game players are over 18 years old, and 40% of them over 35 years old, the average age of a player being 28 year old (D5 Games, 2004a). Another study conducted during December 2003-January 2004 in the U.S. has identified women over 40 years old as a major segment interested in online gaming (Arkadium, 2004)—they spend 9.1 hours per week playing games or 41% of their online time in comparison with only 6.1 hours per week, or 26% of their online time for men. These data demonstrate the huge potential of advergames (Rodgers, 2004; Sennott, 2004). However, despite the hype created by this new advertising method, most of the information presenting advergames is professionally-oriented (DeCollibus, 2002; D5 Games, 2004b; Hartsock, 2004). Very few academic studies have been initiated to investigate the characteristics of advergames, and their influence on consumers’ perceptions and behavior (Hernandez, Chapa, Minor, Maldonaldo, & Barranzuela, 2004; Nelson, 2002). This article attempts to identify, based on the existent professional literature, the specific characteristics of an efficient advergame, and to verify the influence of advergames on players’ behaviour. Therefore, the research objectives of this study are the following: 1. To present the potential of advergames. 2. To discuss the theories explaining the effect of advergames on consumers’ perceptions and behaviour. 3. To analyze the influence of advergames on consumers’ behaviour, using the empirical data collected through an experimental research project. The following section of this article presents the main characteristics of advergames. Section 3 opens a theoretical debate regarding the mechanism of action of advergames on consumers’ perceptions and behaviour, based on the “state of flow” and the AIDA models. The effect of advergames is empirically investigated in Section 4, which presents the results of a survey conducted in Montpellier Business School, France. The article concludes with an overview of the study and with proposition for future research.

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