In-Game Ads in the Ascendance

With the effectiveness of TV advertising on the wane other avenues are being pursued. Chrysler Group are doing it, McDonalds are doing it – advertising on game consoles instead of the screen.

The fantasy world of video games is rapidly becoming prime advertising space.  According to Nielsen Media Research, TV viewership among men aged 18 to 34 declined by about 12 percent last year, while they spent 20 percent more time playing video games.  So, if you want to successfully target a niche market pick the console rather than the screen.

Chrysler Group has already cottoned on to this trend and they are availing of some simple measurement science to see how they can do it better. Nielsen Entertainment and Activision Games have launched a test to measure how consumers react to ads in video games. The test uses audio encoders to identify when and for how long players are exposed to product placements within the game, and to do this they will use the exposure of Chrysler Group’s Jeep in the newly released ‘Tony Hawk’s Underground 2’.

Nielsen also conducted pre- and post-test surveys with 500 male gamers aged 13-to-34 in their research.  Two-thirds of respondents actually believed real-world products and advertising in the games made them more realistic. The more highly integrated the brand was in the game the more it was remembered, with 40% even admitting that they would be more inclined to buy the advertised product.

Four years ago the Chrysler Group did not even have a budget for video game advertising but now it represents 10% of that budget, with Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge vehicles featuring in more than a dozen games.  Conversely, their spending on TV and print ads has dropped.  Chrysler first experimented with this medium a few years ago in the  “Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2” game where players had to do rail stunts over a Jeep to get points, or go through game levels festooned with Jeep billboards. In  “Tony Hawk’s Underground 2” they have gone a step further – players who want game upgrades will have to go to Jeep’s Web site to download them.

Activision and The Chrysler Group have also just announced the Chrysler brand will feature in the upcoming simulation game, The Movies.