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Motivational effects and age differences of gamification in product advertising

Jenny V. Bittner (Institute of Psychology, University of Ulm, Ulm, Germany)
Jeffrey Shipper (Department of Corporate and Marketing Communication, University of Twente, Enschede, The Netherlands)

Journal of Consumer Marketing

ISSN: 0736-3761

Article publication date: 11 August 2014




The purpose of this paper is to study motivational effects and age differences of gamification in product advertising. Game-elements can easily be embedded within product advertisements, but little is known about the success factors of this technology. We investigated which motivational incentives of game designs influence the purchase intentions of consumers. The theory of planned behavior (Ajzen, 1991) was expected to explain purchase intentions for non-gamified sports products, whereas the modified technology acceptance model (Herzig et al., 2012) was expected to predict purchase intentions of gamified sports products.


Participants were 101 consumers who performed sports on a regular basis. Age and prior experience with digital games were assumed to influence the effectiveness of gamification.


Purchase intentions of conventional products were predicted by attitudes, subjective norm and perceived control, whereas purchase intentions of gamified products were predicted by attitudes and the perceived usefulness. Enjoyment and flow were significant mediators between motivational incentives and purchase intentions. Consumers with prior gaming experience had higher purchase intentions for gamified products.

Practical implications

Gamify products for younger target groups with gaming experience; use intrinsic and extrinsic motivational incentives; focus on enjoyment, flow and the perceived usefulness.

Social implications

Game-elements in sports advertisements might also be suitable for public health campaigns. They may motivate people be more physically active and lead a healthier lifestyle.


This study specifies predictors for purchase intentions of gamified products and emphasizes the importance of flow and enjoyment as mediators. Age differences indicate that young consumers had higher intentions to purchase the gamified product, judged it as more useful and perceived more flow and enjoyment than the older age group.



Bittner, J.V. and Shipper, J. (2014), "Motivational effects and age differences of gamification in product advertising", Journal of Consumer Marketing, Vol. 31 No. 5, pp. 391-400.



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