'Advergames' new avenue for TV advertising

May 30, 2014 by Rob Payne
Dr Bellman says new technology in the form of online television is opening up a range of new interactive possibilities for advertisers. Credit: Yuwen Memon

Advertising in the form of games or "advergames" can be as effective as regular 30-second television advertisements according to researchers at Murdoch University's Audience Labs.

This first-of-its-kind study involved 233 members of an Australian audience panel, who were told they would be evaluating the suitability of a new US half-hour sitcom.

Participants were divided into three groups, with a third watching TV with regular 30-second ads, another watching TV with ads that included the option to play a trivia or Pac-Man-style advergame, and the final third playing the advergames on a personal computer without the sitcom or ads.

They then filled out semantic differential and Likert questionnaires to assess their brand attitude, engagement with the ad type and product involvement.

Dr Steve Bellman says all three ad types were effective, primarily because they generated similar feelings of telepresence, the feeling of 'being there' in the game or commercial.

"Telepresence increases the effectiveness of advertising because it leads to the experience of flow, where a person forgets about their surroundings and becomes immersed," Dr Bellman says.

"This leads to an increase in positive feelings towards a brand, because flow increases enjoyment directly. People are absorbed in what they are doing and associate that with the product."

Dr Bellman says that equal levels of telepresence could be due to similar visual angles, or perceptions of the size of the screen, which is a key factor in producing the sensation of being inside a game or show.

"All three ad types shared a similar visual angle, ranging from 9.8 to 33.7 degrees, which is relatively narrow when compared to more effective immersion modes such as IMAX cinema or virtual reality goggles," Dr Bellman says.

One major difference Dr Bellman found was that the PC group had a significantly higher recall of brands when interviewed 24 to 36 hours after participation.

Dr Bellman says could be due to a more engaged 'lean forward' mode of attention, compared to the typical 'lean back' mode that people adopt when watching television.

He says these sorts of engagement factors, as well as advergame effectiveness on tablets and smartphones, will be the subject of future research.

"New technology in the form of online television is opening up a range of new interactive possibilities for advertisers, so it's good to explore how companies can move beyond the traditional models to connect with customers," Dr Bellman says.

"And if this leads to increased enjoyment for viewers, everyone wins."

Explore further: Anti-smoking TV ads should use anger, study suggests

More information: Steven Bellman, Anna Kemp, Hanadi Haddad, Duane Varan, "The effectiveness of advergames compared to television commercials and interactive commercials featuring advergames," Computers in Human Behavior, Volume 32, March 2014, Pages 276-283, ISSN 0747-5632, dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2013.12.013.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Can 30-second ads save newspapers?

Jun 10, 2013

(Phys.org) —A researcher from Murdoch University's Audience Labs suggests economically pinched news outlets should take advantage of positive attitudes to online TV ads as a better way to balance the books.

Advergames: Theme of Game is Secret to Success

Oct 01, 2008

(PhysOrg.com) -- It’s all fun and games when it comes to the current trend in online advertising. Advergames, online video games used to advertise a product or brand, increasingly are being used by advertisers to attract ...

Recommended for you

US official: Auto safety agency under review

Oct 24, 2014

Transportation officials are reviewing the "safety culture" of the U.S. agency that oversees auto recalls, a senior Obama administration official said Friday. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has been criticized ...

Christian Bale to play Apple's Steve Jobs

Oct 23, 2014

Oscar-winner Christian Bale—best known for his star turn as Batman in the blockbuster "Dark Knight" films—will play Apple co-founder Steve Jobs in an upcoming biopic.

How to find a submarine

Oct 23, 2014

Das Boot, The Hunt for Red October, The Bedford Incident, We Dive At Dawn: films based on submariners' experience reflect the tense and unusual nature of undersea warfare – where it is often not how well ...

Government ups air bag warning to 7.8M vehicles (Update)

Oct 22, 2014

The U.S. government is now urging owners of nearly 8 million cars and trucks to have the air bags repaired because of potential danger to drivers and passengers. But the effort is being complicated by confusing ...

User comments : 0