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How gamers process in-game brand placements under different game-involvement conditions

Devika Vashisht (IBS Hyderabad, IFHE University, Hyderabad, India)

Management Research Review

ISSN: 2040-8269

Article publication date: 18 April 2017

1037

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to enhance the knowledge about advertising effects of brand placements in games on players’ brand recall and attitude. More specifically, this study examines the varying effects of brand prominence on gamers’ brand recall and brand attitude under varied game-involvement and need for cognition (NFC) conditions from attention and elaboration perspectives in the context of in-game advertising (IGA).

Design/methodology/approach

A 2 (brand prominence: prominent or subtle) × 2 (game-involvement: high or low) × 2 (NFC: high or low) between-subject measures design was used. Moreover, 240 student gamers participated in the study. A between-subjects measure multivariate analysis of variance was used to test the hypotheses.

Findings

The results revealed that for a game with prominent brand placement, low game-involvement resulted in greater brand recall than high game-involvement condition. Furthermore, for a game with prominent brand placement, high game-involvement condition resulted in more favorable brand attitude than low game-involvement condition. For a game with subtle brand placement, no differences in brand recall rates as well as brand attitudes were found between the high and the low game-involvement conditions. Likewise, for a game with prominent brand placement under low game-involvement condition, high NFC players reported higher brand recall rates and less favorable brand attitudes than the low NFC players. On the other hand, for a game with subtle brand placement under high-game-involvement condition, no differences in brand recall rates as well as brand attitudes were found between the high and the low NFC players.

Research limitations/implications

The process of experimentation used in this study to collect responses was susceptible to some limitations. However, this research adds to advertising literature from a non-traditional advertising viewpoint, predominantly in the context of IGA. This study enlightens the role of brand prominence and its boundary conditions to create customers’ brand memory and brand attitude. Likewise, this investigation adds to the marketing knowledge on how to embed and position the brands effectively in digital games taking into account the specific physiognomies of each game and individual traits of gamers.

Practical implications

This study provides a clear understanding of how marketers can design and develop effective games with a purpose to increase and improve customers’ awareness and attitudes toward the advertised brands by embedding brands in games. The experimental findings suggest the advertising practitioners and game designers to think for a right mix of game-specific factors, that is brand prominence, and individual and situational factors, that is game-involvement and NFC, while creating games to have a stoutest positive advergaming effect on players’ brand recall and brand attitude.

Originality/value

This study adds to the literature of non-traditional advertising media, specifically to the context of IGA, by investigating the impact of brand prominence, game-involvement and gamers’ NFC on their brand recall and attitude. From the attention and elaboration perspectives, this study is the first attempt to understand how brand prominence and its boundary conditions, that is game-involvement and NFC, impact players’ brand recall and brand attitude.

Keywords

Citation

Vashisht, D. (2017), "How gamers process in-game brand placements under different game-involvement conditions", Management Research Review, Vol. 40 No. 4, pp. 471-490. https://doi.org/10.1108/MRR-07-2015-0163

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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