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The effectiveness of casual advergames on adolescents' brand attitudes

Ignacio Redondo (Departamento de Financiación e Investigación Comercial, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Madrid, Spain)

European Journal of Marketing

ISSN: 0309-0566

Article publication date: 9 November 2012



Despite the proliferation of casual advergames on web sites, there is relatively little scientific evidence on which product‐placement qualities and individual consumer characteristics allow a positive affect transfer from game to brand. The purpose of this paper was to examine the influence of placement conspicuousness, exposure duration, and player gender in an experiment with Spanish‐speaking adolescents under real‐world conditions.


Three versions of a casual advergame were created and posted on the popular web site Two of the versions embedded ads for M&M chocolate candy, each of which had a different degree of conspicuousness (less versus more conspicuous), and the third version showed no brand placement at all and was used as the control condition. The versions were randomly assigned to 405 participants, and changes in their attitudes to M&Ms were measured.


The positive affect induced by the casual advergame transferred to M&Ms when it was not inhibited by negative reactions to the brand placement. The transfer of affect occurred after both a brief exposure to the prominent placement and a long exposure to the subtle placement, but no transfer was observed under the opposite set of conditions. Significant transfer in female adolescents but the absence of transfer in their male counterparts suggests a strong gender bias.

Practical implications

There are two implications for marketers who want to persuade adolescents through casual advergames. First, these marketers should segment their casual advergames by designing subtle placements for games with lasting appeal and prominent placements for games with brief appeal. Second, to strengthen male adolescents' brand preferences, marketers should not focus on casual advergames but search for more appropriate entertainment vehicles.


The theoretical framework relies on an unprecedented combination of classical conditioning and psychological reactance theories. The results are of interest for marketers trying to persuade adolescents as well as for public policy advocates trying to protect this vulnerable target group.



Redondo, I. (2012), "The effectiveness of casual advergames on adolescents' brand attitudes", European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 46 No. 11/12, pp. 1671-1688.



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