With traditional media spaces like television and print getting increasingly cluttered, brand owners are facing a constant struggle to find ways to get their brand message noticed, understood and then acted upon by consumers. Their search for a clutter-free environment is making them turn to the Internet, and ‘advergaming’ is the latest online property that enables brands to wrap core brand messages in a gaming format.
Though the business of Internet advergaming is still small in India, pegged at Rs 2 crore per annum, the concept is fast emerging with more and more brands opting for it. But the potential of this medium is obvious when one considers that worldwide, Net advergaming is already a Rs 1,000-crore business.
It is all about creating awareness and encouraging user interactivity with the brand that is pushing marketers to this medium. Said Ravinder Zutshi, Deputy MD, Samsung Electronics India, “We are increasingly looking at the online media as a tool for directly reaching out to our target user groups for products like mobiles, note PCs and MP3 players. The interactive format of the medium not only creates interest but encourages active participation.”
Instead of a ‘push’ medium, advergaming is more of a ‘pull’ medium where consumers opt to learn about the brand by playing a game. It is a fun, non-interruptive technique, played at the consumer’s leisure. Rohit Bhandari, Director, AXN South Asia, felt that interactive creative solutions have tremendous opportunity, and AXN is “looking at integrating new age media into our overall plans”.
Contests2win.com has pioneered this business having created over 1,400 solutions for 350-plus brands since its inception in 1998. Leading brands such as L’Oreal, Samsung, Coke, New Zealand Tourism and HBO are getting hooked to this format.
Alok Kejriwal, CEO, Contests2win, pointed out that traditional media deliver a maximum of a 30-second exposure using a TVC, and 10-15 seconds using print and hoardings. “There is no involvement. At the same time, media is getting cluttered and therefore there is no surety that even the few seconds of expensive media bought will be noticed,” he explained.
But is the tool as effective as it promises to be? Said Kejriwal, “The world's power brands never repeatedly invest in a service which does not provide ROI and which is not measurable.” He went on to mention that each ‘Net advergame’ delivered by c2w typically involved the consumer for at least 4-5 minutes. C2w itself generated 30,000 responses, and if additional media was bought, the responses could go up to 50,000, he said , adding advergames were more cost-effective compared to other mediums.
Giving an example, Kiran Nambiar, Manager-Marketing, Tourism New Zealand, said, “We carried out a research on people who visit New Zealand from India and it showed they were Internet savvy and self-planned their holidays. So we decided to reach them in an interactive gaming manner where they not only get involved but also learn about the brand – in this case New Zealand as a travel destination. The user session increased four times.”
Internet advergaming is rapidly becoming popular since it delivers intense involvement of brands with consumers. Furthermore, the consumers being targeted have rapidly changed their media consumption habits to smaller screens like the PC/laptop monitor screens and mobile screens, thus paving way for Net advergaming in becoming a strong marketing tool.