Game Advertising: A systematic Literature Review

Martin Smith, Sally Sun

Research output: Contribution to ConferencePaperpeer-review


This paper presents a synthesis of doctoral research conducted within the area of Game Advertising. Utilising a Systematic Literature Review with thematic analysis based upon the principles of metaethnography, we were able to identify, appraise, select and synthesise all the high quality academic research
evidence related to Game Advertising which resulted in 181 accessible documents, published between 2001 and 2013, an average of just under 14 documents per year. Of these, 106 related to Advergames, 71 to InGame Advertising and 4 to Around-Game Advertising. We were able to show that seven main research methods were utilised, with survey/questionnaires dominating (120, 66%). Of these 101, (84%), were blended with some form of game exposure experiment. Although the average exposure time was found to be 11.5 minutes, the most popular was one to ten minutes (62%). Moreover, nearly 95% of experiments tested instantly. We argue that this creates a credibility gap between ideology and reality as the average gaming sessions have been found to last between 30-160 minutes and gamers are not instantly exposed to products being advertised. This was particularly the case with Advergame research which has been the foundation for government legislation to tackle childhood obesity. The suggestion was that the use of games to promote
confectionary and sugary breakfast cereals to children is partly responsible for this happening in Western children. However, in the vast majority of these studies, children were tested instantly after gameplay and as these children choose the product being promoted, assumptions were made that these games unduly influenced product choice. In real life, children who play Advergames are not usually exposed to the products being promoted at the time of playing the game and therefore no clear causality can be established between playing these games and the rise in obesity.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jun 2016
EventLCBR European Marketing Conference -
Duration: 28 Jun 201629 Jun 2016


ConferenceLCBR European Marketing Conference


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