Gaming's role in the marketing mix
In-game branding offers immersive consumer engagement with viral and community-building opportunities, but there are few hard metrics or case studies to back your judgement
Gaming is increasingly mass-market, increasingly diverse, increasingly fascinating. There are different gaming types (casual games, apps, social games, virtual worlds, alternate reality), business models (free, freemium, paid, subscription, virtual objects), and platforms (console, PC, phone, handheld, real world). There are also a number of ways that a brand might be involved with games (over and above web advertising around a game.) The two key areas are in-game advertising and brand created games.
With in-game advertisings brand immerses itself in the game through advertising sites in the game, such as a stadium hoarding in a football game, a car in a driving game or a mobile phone used by a virtual secret agent. If the advertising is part of the backdrop, it tends to be dynamic. This means you can buy it like other media; it can be served into the game for a set period of time, then removed. This gives advertisers flexibility (and is also great for games developers, with fresh advertising helping to keep their games up-to-the-minute.) A brand-created game might be free or retailed. It might be a casual game, a bespoke area in a virtual world, or an alternate reality game. It might be on a phone, PC or console, or a combination.