GTA: Hey, look, I’m driving over a pedestrian with my new Chevy Malibu and it’s great to be part of the American Revolution!

Tony Hawk: I need to put on Nike SB Classics in order to make this jump!

Will this be our future in video games?

Activision and Nielson issue a joint press release about a study on the effectiveness of advertising in games:

The study confirms earlier findings that product integration helps to drive awareness and recall, but also uncovers a new variable, pervasiveness, which contributes to driving brand awareness as well. Most important, the research shows that the combination of product integration and pervasiveness results in a high degree of persuasion — the willingness of consumers to change their opinions of a brand and/or recommend it to others — and establishes that video games drive persuasion.

Link here.

CIBC posted this in a research note this morning:

Activision and Nielsen (owned by VNU, NV, VNUVY – NR) discussed results of their multi-part in-game advertising study in a press release issued yesterday.  The two companies have set out to develop a standardized set of measurement tools to assess the value of ads in games.  The results point to the fact that video game players are cognizant of advertising and when placed correctly view the realism as additive to the overall game experience.  Activision and Nielsen believe that product integration, coupled with pervasiveness, can help increase the persuasiveness of the advertisement.  The study defines persuasiveness as “the willingness of consumers to change their opinions of a brand and/or recommend it to others.”    

The joint venture is still in the process of developing a unit of measurement.  We believe this is the most critical piece of the puzzle.  Studies have shown that 18-34 year old men spend less time watching television and more time playing video games.  The question that has always lingered is whether these men are actually noticing product placement within the game and whether this has any impact on product perception.  The study results imply that they indeed do.  There are some basic ground rules, however.  Product placement must be relevant to the game and can’t be disruptive to the gaming experience. 

We believe that in-game advertising is a natural part of the industry’s evolution and is indicative of the acceptance of video games as an entertainment medium.  As more and more consumers move from the television towards video games, we believe that advertisers will naturally follow.  In our opinion, in-game advertising will become a powerful alternative revenue stream for video game publishers. 

Alex Eckelberry
(Note — apparently some may have inferred from this post that I support advertising in video games.  I most certainly do not.  I was only quoting CIBC’s research notes.  See comments for more).