Games as a marketing tool

The idea of using games to promote goods or services is not new - Lego has been doing it for years. However, here, we would like to talk about games as a part of marketing campaigns for goods that are entirely unrelated to the industry of games and toys or the entertainment industry altogether.

The technique we are going to discuss is called advergaming. In advergaming, games themselves serve as the advertising medium. Now, we are not talking about in-game advertising, where ads are placed at certain points during the gameplay. In fact, in-game ads annoy more users than they manage to engage.
Advergames, in their turn, bring excitement and competition simultaneously building brand awareness for the user. We have had a great opportunity to build an advergame for one of our clients and would like to share some techniques and insights that might help you enhance your marketing campaign with an advertising game.
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Case study

For one of our clients, Raffinerie Tirlemontoise, we built a game app that became a part of the company’s marketing campaign. Raffinerie Tirlemontoise (the part of one of the biggest sugar producer in the world Südzucker ) is a Belgian producer of sugar and some related products. The advergaming campaign was focused on their retail customers purchasing sugar on a regular basis.

We created a game as a mobile app that could be easily downloaded from Google Play and the App Store. To start the downloading, the user only needed to scan the QR code that was printed on each sugar package.

The game is a classic runner with the player character designed as T-man, the symbol of Raffinerie Tirlemontoise. In the gameplay, T-man is racing over the rooftops against the background of Brussels skyline. There are various obstacles and achievements along the track, and the race is timed.

The main target audience of the game is kids 9-12 years old. They are quite skillful with smartphone controls and can respond quickly to sudden obstacles or track switches. At the same time, kids are rather competitive and can play the game repeatedly to achieve higher results.

The release of the game was supported by a powerful marketing campaign that boosted the users’ engagement with the game and encouraged them to choose our client’s products during their next purchases.

Marketing campaign components

The campaign was structured so that to heighten up the users’ interest towards both the game and the products. As we mentioned, the game included various achievements, such as the distance the character could run until the time expired, the number of sugar cubes he collected, as well as various bonuses.
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Using a game as a marketing technique allowed to apply the following engagement methods:
  • Game milestones – unlocking new locations and character costumes that become available as the player achieves certain scores;
  • Competition – bonuses awarded with the achievement of certain milestones;
  • Game currency – in our case, the character could collect sugar cubes to be exchanged for prizes, such as new costumes;
  • Promo codes – purchasing additional packs of sugar brought unique promo codes that could be used to receive various game artifacts, for example, costumes. Using new codes allowed to get the artifacts quicker than by playing the game over and over;
  • Physical prizes – the most active players participating in special in-game events can receive branded rewards – T-man cups, T-shirts, baseball caps, cereal bowls. Also, Raffinerie Tirlemontoise offered factory tours and tickets to the annual rock festival as awards to players.
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All these methods encouraged the users, on the one hand, to continue playing the game to improve their skills and achieve new levels or prizes, and, on the other hand, stimulated them to choose the same brand’s products again to get new promo codes.

The advergame allowed creating a complete social media campaign around it. Users were invited to subscribe to the game pages in social networks to post their achievements, compete with other users, and earn prizes. The game increased the brand presence and recognition in social networks creating additional opportunities to attract more users.

The release of the game was supported by a powerful marketing campaign that boosted the users’ engagement with the game and encouraged them to choose our client’s products during their next purchases.

Advantages of advergames for retail businesses

Any business offering packaged retail goods that are purchased regularly – mostly, this refers to groceries – can benefit from running an advergaming campaign. First and foremost, a professionally developed game will attract both adult consumers and their children alike. Besides, a smart marketing campaign is going to increase brand awareness and loyalty, bring new users, and retain the existing consumers.

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What can a business get with implementing an advertising game?

  • Sales increase. As we mentioned, some game artifacts are available against codes that can be found on product packaging. If the user (or their kids!) wants to proceed to a new level, dress their character in a new fancy costume or get more in-game currency, they will choose to buy the same brand’s product.
  • Increased consumer loyalty. This is a logical continuation of the previous point. Users will continue buying the brand’s product either to continue playing or just out of habit.
  • Social media marketing opportunities. In this case, SMM is both a must-do and a benefit. An advertising game should always be surrounded by a powerful promotional campaign that should include social media. At the same time, SMM will bring more users and obtain a lot of valuable analytical data about the user. This data can be used to better target the marketing activities for the same and other products.

When the brand offers physical awards, this event can get social media coverage as well as mentioning in the posts of users who received the awards or were present at the event. Such publicity will, on the one hand, increase the customers’ loyalty to the brand and, on the other hand, attract new players who will download the game hoping to become the next winner.

  • Viral marketing. Users will be spreading the news about the new game and sharing their achievements with their friends. The viral marketing can be encouraged by launching various competitions in social media where users are invited to subscribe, like or share the game page and then post their achievements. If the game supports the multi-player mode, users will invite their friends to play promoting the brand.
  • User-generated content. By posting game screenshots, videos, descriptions, users create better trust towards the brand and the product. Consumers tend to trust user reviews better than professional ads. Thus, user-generated content may boost sales.
  • Educational content. The game can include certain educational content related both to the general knowledge and to the brand- or product-specific matters. For example, the game that we built for our client included the images of the historic landmarks of Brussels. A brand producing food product may include certain information about the type of products that they offer or the nutrition in general. The trick is to do it smartly and unobtrusively so that to maintain the engagement of the children and appreciation of their parents.
  • Additional communication opportunities. By launching a game, the brand gets an exclusive channel of communication with their customers that it can use to promote its product and deliver relevant information. Unlike social media and mass media where brands compete for the audience, the game will create a communication platform for the sole purpose of delivering the brand’s messages.
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Advergaming opportunities for retail businesses

Jasoren offers the full package of advergaming campaign to retail businesses producing packaged goods. Our experts can create a complete package of advergame development and promotion services including:

  • Game design including an engaging gameplay, a system of bonuses and achievements, a tutorial, some educational content. The game will meet all requirements of Google Play and App Store to be downloaded by scanning a QR code on the packaging.
  • Game development using advanced technologies allowing creating unique graphics and animation.
  • Marketing campaign including social media marketing. Our marketing experts will participate in the project from the design stage to structure the gameplay for the maximum engagement. In addition, we will help your business to promote the game and the related products in various media using viral marketing techniques.
  • Analytics studying the campaign performance and suggesting the steps to take in order to improve it.
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If you want to see how it works, you can download the advergame we built for Raffinerie Tirlemontoise from Google Play or App Store. Please note that the game is available for downloading only within the EU.

Contact us to create a unique and unusual marketing tool that your users are going to love. A professionally made advergame will be a valuable addition to your marketing campaign bringing it to a new level, so leave it to the professionals.