Its all fun and advertising till controversy arises: The marketing technique of advergames.

It seems that the saying “There’s an app for that” is spawning a new saying, “ There’s a game for that”. One of the most up and coming marketing technique combines the thrill of games with the intention of advertising: Advergaming.

Advergames interact with consumers by providing branded content in an entertainment format that increases the amount of time consumers are exposed to the brand. According to a CBS News report, attention has become a commodity especially when we speak of the youth. Typical online advertisments such as banners are usually skipped over and ignored allowing only seconds of brand exposure. With advergaming, the amount of time spent with the brand increases dramatically to 30 minutes or more. In addition to more time spent with a brand, advergaming  can be integrated into social platforms like Facebook by implementing prompts to post a score on Facebook which could challenge a “friend”. Usually free and easy, advergames are targeted mostly to children such as Fruitloops and Cheetos and young adults such as Axe and the United States Army.  Or the energy conservations game brought to you from Chevron.

Most of the controversy surrounding advergaming is the objective of promoting sugary products to children. According to a Rudd Study, Advergames promoting unhealthy food choices to children has about 100 million visitors per month with over an hour of brand exposure. Another controversy is the concept that advergaming is a deceptive form of advertising for adults and children alike. I don’t agree that advergaming is deceptive for young adults due to the fact that it is an opt-in form of advertising requiring a consumer to chose to be an active participant.

The advergames work so well that researchers from Yale University’s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity have found playing kid-friendly advergames that promote unhealthy foods increased children’s consumption of junk food by 56%.