Advergaming or Adverblaming?

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This week in IMC 619 we’ve been taking a closer look at advergaming. Advergaming is an online video game that promotes a particular brand, product, or marketing message by integrating it into the game. There are a variety of companies utilizing advergaming as a major part of their advertising campaigns. Some of the companies clearly state that the game consumers are about to play is an advertisement while others don’t indicate that fact anywhere in the game.

Advergames photo

That it is not always clear whether the game is an ad or an actual game is interesting. What is even more interesting is that children have become major targets of food companies via advergames. The end result of this type of advertising is the undermining of the fight against juvenile obesity.

Because this tactic has become such a major concern, “the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) is currently able to take action against a company if a game encourages poor nutritional habits, such as excessive consumption or unhealthy lifestyles.” With this in mind, it makes me wonder why a company would even attempt to create something that could potentially be seen as negative. The result of a company being seen as promoting negative eating habits is having its advergaming product banned and turning away parents who care about their children’s health.

The idea that advergaming can have an adverse effect on the market it is targeting leads me to wonder when it is that advergaming becomes adverblaming? Where is the line crossed from one to the other?

Pam

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