Allianz, the life insurance company, has launched an online game called 'Time Out' on the contests site, Contests2win.com. The game tries to convey the brand's message - the longer you delay your retirement plan, the more expensive it becomes - to customers in an interactive manner.
In the game created by Contests2win, the player has to collect as many gold coins (his 'savings') as soon as possible. The gamer has to control Smart Alec, the game's character and the brand's mascot, in the game and make him collect enough coins while dodging the obstacles encountered at various levels of the game. With each level, Smart Alec grows older and the difficulty level of the game increases. The participants of the game can win prizes such as digital cameras and iPods by making the highest score in the least possible time.
The 'Time Out' game campaign will run on Contests2win.com for 60 days. Rajagopal Menon, COO, Contest2win.com, says, "The consumer can 'virtually' touch or experience the brand. The game is created in such a way that the consumers won't be able to complete it on the first attempt. On the second, they'll just about succeed and, on the third attempt, they'll definitely crack it. On an average, consumers will spend three-five minutes on the game."
Contests2win has created games for brands such as Airtel, Garnier Fructis, ICICI Prudential, Intel, Nescafe, Barista, Yamaha and Jet Airways. Ad-based games on Contests2win.com normally generate 30,000-50,000 responses, according to Menon. Airtel's SongCatcher game, which generated 40,000 responses, required the participants to scout for songs embedded in the picture.
As per NASSCOM, the Indian gaming industry is expected to reach $300 million (Rs 1,180 crore) by 2009. The current size of the online gaming industry in India is Rs 21 crore (as per IAMAI's Online Gaming India Report 2007) and the revenue for the gaming portals streams in through subscription, advertising or revenue from organised cafes. The contribution of advertising (Rs 2.24 crore), which is currently low, should go up over the next two-three years, in line with developed gaming markets such as the US, where it accounts for close to 40 per cent, predicts the IAMAI report.
A number of brands like Airtel, Intel, Garnier, Nescafe, Yamaha, Jet Airways and Barista are taking the route of game-based advertising to communicate their brand message to their target audiences. The concept of game-based advertising, popularly known as advergames, involves developing a game around a brand and, if done in a subtle way, it can prove to be an effective route to catch the consumer online and transfer the message in a playful yet discreet way.
Designing an advergame costs about Rs 3 lakh, according to industry estimates, though the more complex advergames can cost much more. However, creating game-based advertising is much cheaper than mass media advertising formats.