Advergames Outscore In-Game Ads

Games built around a brand, or advergames, are often a better option for marketers than placing ads within a game, a panel of executives said Tuesday at the OMMA conference in New York.

Advergames usually are relatively cheap to produce, and simple to distribute, the executives said. What's more, advergames don't require the same degree of coordination between different parties as ads served while consumers are playing a game.

"It's much easier," said panelist Zack Zeiler, interactive creative agency VPI.net CEO and president. "You can distribute it for free--you don't need to have a particular platform."

Mike Monello, co-creative director of branded entertainment company Campfire, discussed one campaign that his firm did for Audi. Users learned about the car's high-tech features as they played the game, Monello said. "You could never convey all that information in a 30-second ad," he added. Overall, 37 percent of players went to Audi's corporate site, configured a car and registered for a test drive, according to Monello.

In addition, he said, advergames can build buzz--at least for now, when they're still relatively novel. In-game ads, on the other hand, face similar problems as traditional ads--especially the need to compete for consumers' attention, Monello said. "When I drive by a billboard in 'Need for Speed,'" he said, "it has the same effect on me when I drive by a billboard on I-95."