In-Game Advertisement

06 Mar 2006 explains– an “Alternate Reality Game” is a cross media game that deliberately blurs the line between in-game and out-of-game experiences often being used as “a marketing tool for a product or service.” Designing ARGs is both an art and a science. It can take months to a year to just design. It launches almost out of nowhere and then takes off, propelled seemingly only by WOM (Word of Mouth). In reality it is strongly supported by a well-planned infrastructure of cross-media. iMedia went in-depth with a series of articles that are definitely worth a closer look.

Welcome to the Alternate Branding Reality (ABR).

Many more agencies and brands are starting to adapt ARG tactics of stealth marketing, microsites, big stakes contests and real world special events in a hybrid campaign to capture the cache of Augmented Reality Branding and encourage pull tactics that encourage players to tell the story to other players versus outdated “push” campaigns.

From iMedia Connection:

Dissect an ARG, and you’ll find elements of immersive gaming, viral marketing, interactive fiction, social communities, virtual worlds and real-life publicity stunts that would make P.T. Barnum blush. Agency and brand budgets for online and new media continue to grow, but there is no source chronicling the rise of ARG advertising and sponsorship because the funds are often dispersed across such silos as special events, promotion, guerilla marketing and sweepstakes budgets. One indicator that there is plenty of opportunity for growth in the ARG space and evolving spin-offs is the growth of experience marketing.

New ARGs are launched almost every month, but few can match the success of Microsoft’s ARG “I Love Bees,” with three million players and a price tag of one million dollars. The campaign propelled the X-box video game Halo 2 into one of 2004’s biggest hits. The designers of “I Love Bees,” 42 Entertainment, are quoted as saying that they soon found that they weren’t building games for individuals but for a “hive mind” composed of millions of walking, talking neurotransmitters that fast became a community online and off. The buzz lives on, and so does the website at Last year, two years after the launch, players organized a Hivemeet in Chicago to relive the experience. A DVD compendium of “I Love Bees” was also released leading merchandisers to rethink how to “productize” other campaigns.

In the current environment of evolving technologies and media fragmentation, consumers are in control of their viewing and entertainment choices more than ever before.

How can marketers get smarter by playing in this environment?

What your brand should do:

  • A brand’s presence should enhance the gaming engagement
  • Brand and commercial content must be relevant to the game
  • Brands should feel like a natural part of the game
  • Customization can strengthen gamers’ engagement with a brand
  • In-game communication must be measurable

What your brand definitely should retain from:

  • Assuming video games will work with any brand
  • Interrupting, delaying or inappropriately altering game-play with in-game communication
  • Imposing on gamers’ attention with communication that doesn’t add to the game
  • Assuming real-world creative will work within a video game environment
  • Considering “advergames” as an inexpensive way of reaching a gaming audience.

Read more about this topic:

On Advertising: Getting in the game
Ads In Games (blog)
Advertisers are getting into the game
InGameAdvertising (Agency)
MassiveIncorporated: The World’s First Video Game Network
Ben Sherman: Getting in the game
In-game advertising on MIT

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Posted by Miel Van Opstal in Uncategorized


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