So what about them advergames? Some people simply ignore/dismiss them, other swear by them. Then there's that category of people/companies who figure that all they have to do is buy some silly casual game, slap their logo all over it, put it on their website and voila, mission accomplished, budget well spent. The only problem with that approach is that it's the least interesting thing you could do. It's so boring and uninspired that most people don't even notice the company's game, despite the PR flood that comes with it.
That being said, let's look at some ways to make it more likely that people will talk about your company's advergame, should you decide to get one. (Five ideas today, five in the next installment).
2. Advergames as a gateway to discounts. Or what Ian Bogost calls 'coupongaming'. The one thing to remember is that the game doesn't have to feel like a chore. And of course, if it's also educative, all the better.
3. Advergame your way into charity (yes, I'm using advergame as a verb there). See Red vs Blue or FreeRice. So you've decided to support a cause. Well why not engage some consumers into it? The best part? You can still jump on this particular wagon without being called a 'me-too'. Not for long probably so you might want to hurry up.
4. As swag. 'Hey, thanks for dropping by. Here's a CD or a login for our website where you can play this new game we have.' You'll have to admit, that's cooler than getting a pen or an USB stick.
5. As a way to let consumers rehaul your other marketing efforts :-)
This takes a bit of extra explaining so here we go. Take for example Volkswagen's Night Driving. What those guys did is take footage from the TV ad and let people mix it in any fashion they want to. Then they made a contest out of it with a jury and a prize for the most popular clip. Now - you may argue that this isn't exactly a 'game' and in a classic, technical sense, it isn't. You don't have a fixed window with a start button, levels and a highscores list. However, what you have here is a ludic, engaging, creative experience that follows a certain rules frame. Doesn't that sound like a game?
So the big idea here is - let people play. Let them show you how they would've done things, that's important feedback right there. And at the end, reward them for it. Does the idea of letting just about anybody tramp all over your carefully planted tulips scare you? Well, tough luck, they're doing it anyhow. They have this thing called youtube where they can post re-edits and spoofs of your ad. So why not make them play by your rules?