In-Game Advertising

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Effectiveness of In-Game Advertising:
The Influence of Cultural Background of Master Students on Brand Interest and Purchase Intention The Case of PRO EVOLUTION 2009

Course Tutor: Kathy Durkin
Prepared by Nilay Akhan
Reference no: 4339939

In-game advertising refers to the placement of brands in games (Yang et al. 2006). This trend had started in the late 1980s with the brand placement of Marlboro on billboards in the racing games of Sega Games (Chambers 2006, cited Chang et al. 2010), and since then the development of the internet and game development technology has been accelerated. The expansion of video game industry has attracted advertisers’ attention to a new potential promising market where they can target especially young audience through brand placement in video games. Since gamers are a captive audience, marketers find placing ads within games highly reasonable (Smith, 2005). In-game advertising (IGA), therefore, has gained remarkable attention from advertisers (Chang et al. 2010); hence both advertisers and game developers are regularly seeking new developments in research on advertising in video games (Lewis and Porter, 2010). To date, many studies (Yang et al. 2006; Smith, 2005) have been conducted to observe the effectiveness of in-game advertising in terms of different approaches. Congruency in gameplay, for example, and its impact on advertising awareness, brand interest, and intent to purchase have been examined by Lewis and Porter (2010) in US; and it is founded that there is no significant correlation between congruency in in-game advertising and these three elements. On the other hand, according to a similar research conducted in China, the match between the advertisement and its advertising vehicle according to congruity, integration, and prominence has a positive influence on players' interest in IGA and their purchase intentions toward the advertised product (Chang et al. 2010). Both of the studies used students as video game players, which is a reason for this study to focus on students as sample group as well. These studies (Chang et al. 2010; Lewis and Porter, 2010) concentrate on the possible correlation between in-game advertising and players’ attitudes towards the adverts in video games; however the association between the level of brand engagements and cultural influences has not been investigated in any of these studies. This research aims to fill this gap by focusing on the influence of video game players’ cultural backgrounds on brand interest and purchase intention regarding the congruency level of advertised brands. Based on the findings of this research, it might be possible to develop a marketing strategy which takes the cultural differences into account when placing brands in video games.

Literature Review
Shrum (2004, cited Küster et al. 2010) defines product placement as a form of marketing communication that can be a tool for realizing different marketing objectives. It refers to the positioning of images of a brand or product in an entertainment medium such as video games (Winkler and Buckner, 2006). The main intention of product placement is to increase awareness of the product while enhancing the knowledge about product attributes (Haugtvedt, Machleit, & Yalch, 2005 cited Küster et al. 2010). On the other hand, in order to measure the effect of the product placement on consumer attitudes towards brands, purchase intention is also considered as a measurement dimension other than brand awareness (Galician, 2005). However, due to other variables such as psychographic and demographic factors which can influence the perceptions and attitude of consumers, the effect of product placement on purchase intentions may not be a valid measure of effectiveness (Galician, 2005; Ozer, Argan, Suher, Akin, & Argan, n.d. cited Küster et al. 2010). Stafford & Faber (2005 cited Küster et al. 2010) conducted a cross-cultural research into perceptions of...
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