Advertising firms pick up the controller for clients

Advertising firms figure out how to place ads within digital worlds.

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Advertising firms pick up the controller for clients


The Future. With a record number of people playing video games, advertising firms are figuring out how to place ads within these digital worlds. Making them feel organic is half the battle, but some companies are exploring ways to actually make the ads part of the game… possibly turning branding opportunities into side-missions.

Lose a life, win an ad
Since less and less people are watching ads in the real world, gaming is looking like the next frontier to capture attention.

The typical method is rolling video ads after a player dies, filling up the 30 seconds it takes for the game to reload. But, a lot of people just set the phone or controller down and wait it out. In today’s world, making advertising immersive and playable is the name of the game.

  • Fortnite tried out a game-mode called “Marvel Knockout,” which allowed players to play as Marvel characters in the game.
  • Branded skins — wearable merch for in-game avatars — are also taking off.
    • NFL-branded skins in Fortnite collected over $50 million in sales in just two months.

And as metaverse games take off, ad tech companies are helping brands simply place billboards or signage where they would be placed in the real world.

Program the product
Jonathan Stringfield, VP of global business marketing, measurement and insights at Activision Blizzard Media says, “a lot of the work that we do in the background is ensuring that any of these integrations aren’t interruptive to the gameplay experience or the viewing experience — and ideally work within it. And then the highest tier, though it’s difficult to get to, can potentially improve the gameplay experience.”

One company, NextPlay, is trying to accomplish that “highest tier.” NextPlay is bridging the gap between the digital and real world by placing coupons within games that are modeled after in-story tokens or items. For example, a player could find a Starbucks cup in the game, which could then be redeemed at a real Starbucks for a discount on a drink.

David Vendrell

Born and raised a stone’s-throw away from the Everglades, David left the Florida swamp for the California desert. Over-caffeinated, he stares at his computer too long either writing the TFP newsletter or screenplays. He is repped by Anonymous Content.


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