Advergames are simply games that have been branded at one level or another. Early on, brand marketers saw the potential of the video game market (in the old days 1995-2000) and started customizing game experiences with brand elements to connect with audiences.
One early brand experience created that I recall from this time period was from Nabisco and their Oreo brand. They created a race type game where you would float your Oreo “boat” through several obstacles down a river. It was simple, and fun and tied into the Oreo brand promise.
Fast forward to 2013; graphics have made a quantum leap, to hyper realistic 3D, augmented reality and mobile has opened new potentials, advances in physical controllers and sensors have created new brand experiences around physical digital blending our reality and virtual reality and providing the interfaces to bridge the experience, and social media platforms to play.
From our perspective as creative technologists, all the advances in technology has provided new canvases for creative and marketing directors to create new deeper positive brand engagements and even brand marketing platforms.
There is still a place for simple enjoyable advergames for events or mobile, where the goal is still simple to create a positive brand experience. However these interactive games can now leverage technology to extend and amplify this experience to a deeper level. Marketer’s can utilize the virtual digital marketing toolbox to design a platform that include games, experiences, user generated content, social media, mobile devices to create a virtual brand world of experiences, games, events, videos, live content, microsites and much more to add depth and relevance to the engagement of brand and audience.
Nike+ is a great example of Nike building a marketing platform utilizing all of the benefits of technology. Nike+ provides digital tools for their customers to achieve their fitness goals by providing customized senors to track and monitor activity, accounts to set goals and track progress, a social community to share and encourage each other, gamification elements of badges and achievements to bring rewards and recognition to meeting goals and encouraging performance improvements.
Nike+ combines the best of marketing and digital interactive. Marketing’s goal is to ultimately drive revenues by uncovering consumers needs and desires and solving them through products that are in alignment with a brand’s promise. Nike is about helping people reach their fitness and life goals. “Just Do It” is their well known brand tagline. Nike+ fulfills Nike’s brand promise and also has created huge new opportunities to sell products that work together, tied together by technology. As a first mover in this space, Nike has created an advantage with hundreds of thousands of fitness minded consumers using their products on their platform. The ultimate loyalty program providing useful, relevant services, information and products.
This type of marketing platform can be adapted to many industries, products and brands and provide early mover advantages. Advergames and brand experiences are only a part of what’s possible.