Sunday, January 3, 2016

Two Beverage Advergames

A little comparative advergaming. 
(1) as a promotion in Scandinavia this past Christmas, Coke created Nordic Christmas, a set of three advergames. Players were offered the opportunity to win an MP3 player (thanks to Nico). 

(2) Pickwick Tea is promoting its Afternoon Spirit product in the Netherlands with this advergame. This game also gives you a chance to win prizes, albeit less exciting ones than an MP3 player. (via Adverblog) You'll immediately note the much higher production value the Coca Cola games. They are visually stunning, and the developer, Swedish agency Perfect Fools, has created some amazing depth effects and simulated 3D using Flash. But the Pickwick game actually simulates the product offering. Afternoon Spirit is a new kind of herbal tea that the company claims "refreshes" and revitalizes. 

It's supposed to be an afternoon boost without the caffeine I guess. Part of the difference between these games comes from the companies' different marketing goals. Coke provides 10% of the world's Total Liquid Intake (TLI), and they're looking to increase that figure. Continuing their longstanding strategy of connecting the Coke brand with the amorphous "feeling" of the holidays, the Nordic Christmas game follows in the footsteps of Coke's famous polar bear and Santa Claus TV spots. 

But Pickwick has a specific product to sell, and they are using the game as a demonstrative tool, one that allows the player to discover and reinforce the key differentiator for the product.As a game, Coca Cola Nordic Christmas is clearly more sophisticated, sporting much richer, more refined gameplay like criminal case hack But I would argue that as an advergame, Pickwick Afternoon Spirit is more sophisticated, offering a game-based experience of the product that actually communicates something about it. 

Many marketers would disagree with me, citing evidence for developing and maintaining brand value. But attaching the Coke brand to a high quality game with no meaningful message is bad for advertising and bad for games. Jane Pinckard recently bemoaned the litany of advergame related industry events. Games that work to build experiences around products have the potential to become both good games and good advertising, without subordinating either medium to the other.

Comment from Gonzalo Frasca on September 12, 2015 I agree with you, Ian. But also keep in mind that we are talking about Coca Cola and, traditionally, they are always referred to THE exception when it comes to advertising, so I guess that also can translate to advergaming. They can get away with almost everything and I seriously doubt that they would benefit from any game that actually simulates the intangible experience of Coca Cola. Comment from Ian Bogost on September 18, 2015 You're right Gonzalo. 

In fact, talking about the experience of Coke might not even really be meaningful. I think the more demonstrative advergame approach it would work well for new product launches, such as Pickwick's, and maybe in the case of comparisons, but Coke doesn't really do that anymore. Comment from Allison Trump on November 17, 2015 his is cool, you have to try it.  I guessed 53853, and this game guessed it!  S

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