October 11th 2016

Brands Take on Video Games.

Posted by Will Shadbolt

Branded video games are nothing new. For almost as long as there have been video games, adaptions of movies and books have been a staple in the industry. Video game versions of brands, though, have never played a big role. Most have been either limited in scope or running on older technology, cheap gadgets bundled with happy meals or cereals. Developers simply did not have the budgets to create the in-depth affairs people expected from a full-price game. Some brands-like Legos or sports leagues-have successfully adapted material into full-length games for mainstream consoles, but the vast majority have not had the resources. Now, apps on smartphones and online are changing that.

Marketers from Under Armour to Warby Parker have begun experimenting with the medium. Warby Parker's "Worbs," a physics-based game, was accessible via their website. Worbs promotes a limited-edition set of glasses by unobtrusively putting a pair off to the side in the game and, as of today, is still playable. Others have placed their games in more creative outlets. For example, Under Armour inserted a game on Snapchat's Discover feature. A benefit of uploading it there was that consumers already on that part of the app were already receptive, so the game would not appear intrusive to anyone who stumbled upon it. Described as an "endless runner" game, like Temple Run, players raced around a landscape, dodging wolves while clad in Under Armour gear. The average time people played was 78 seconds. Snapchat's average engagement rate is three seconds. 

Gatorade also embraced video games on Snapchat and released a 22-level tennis game where players face off against Serena Williams. At the time, Williams was competing for her 23rd Grand Slam win. The brand's designs were placed throughout the stadium, with Gatorade coolers on either side of the court and "G's" on the bleachers in the background, so players would still notice them but not be distracted. Over two million people played the game and on average spent 217 seconds interacting with it. 

The graphics Gatorade used were 8-bit, reminiscent of Super Mario Bros. on the Nintendo Entertainment System. In lower budget games, retro looks, harkening back to the days of the Nintendo or Super Nintendo, are becoming increasingly popular, meaning brands no longer have to throw tons of money into a video game if they want it to be a success. Perhaps, as they become cheaper to produce, more companies will start exploring the possibilities of advertising in video games. 

Peter Petralia, the managing director of digital strategy at Sullivan, a multi-disciplinary brand engagement firm, was quoted in AdWeek as saying, "Brands are hungry to get your attention… We're all super busy, we're fragmented and what a game does is it gets you sucked into something that you want to repeat again and again and again."

But brands looking to make a video game should remember to make it entertaining first and an ad second. Like most great marketing, these games need to be appealing while not intrusive. If they aren't fun, consumers won't play them. In other words, they need to be both a great game and engaging marketing.

And, if you're looking for engaging marketing for your company, look no further than Giovatto Advertising. Our creative team makes ads sure to grab your target audience's attention while not being intrusive and bothering them. Plus, our amazing art team can capture the perfect look you're going for, whether it's retro or cutting edge. When it comes to engaging advertising, trust the experts and come to Giovatto.

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