The Truth About Video Game Brainwashing (It's The Ads!)

from the run-for-your-lives! dept

Lots of folks like to get worked up over the issue of sex and violence in video games. The claim is that such games teach kids to act out on what they learn in the games -- but the evidence shows that as these games have become more popular, youth violence has decreased significantly. However, in all that time, perhaps we've been ignoring the real brainwashing that's been going on in games: the ads. Ads in video games are nothing new. They've been around for years. However, a new study claims that those ads are unusually persuasive. Of course, the study was sponsored by a gaming firm, so you may want to pull out your favorite salt container. However, the study found that when ads were seen in video games in ways that fit into the game and made sense (it didn't work for intrusive ads), gamers often thought highly of the brands. Well, at least highly enough 20 minutes after the game ended to tell some annoying researcher that they would recommend a brand to a friend. That might not translate into much in terms of actual behavior later on, but it's the type of results that some video game ad sales guy is now salivating over.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Testudo, Dec 5th, 2005 @ 5:23am

    Perhaps...

    I suppose this could be true in some cases, but I must say that I personally disagree. Ad's in videogames have become more common (take Need For Speed for example), but I have never felt any kind of "attraction" (for lack of a better word) towards any brands marketed in games. Personally, I really rarely notice them.

     

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  2.  
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    MadJo, Dec 5th, 2005 @ 5:23am

    commercial break.

    In the future you'll get 5 minutes of playtime before the next 15 minutes of commercial break in your game.

     

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  3.  
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    CrashNet, Dec 5th, 2005 @ 6:01am

    Re: Perhaps...

    I'm with Testudo on this. I notice the Ads but I surely don't have an 'attraction' towards any of the brands there are being marketed to me in the games.

    Do I gamers really look like a NASCAR fans??

     

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  4.  
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    Andrew Strasser, Dec 5th, 2005 @ 6:02am

    Personally, I really rarely notice them.

    In advertising the less notice consciously that you have of the product the more productive it is. They would rather appeal to your sub-conscious. There are more than a few studies about how much better it is to store something into your sub-conscious instead of your conscious. It's simple suggestion truths.

     

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  5.  
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    thinman, Dec 5th, 2005 @ 6:24am

    Sneaky sneaky

    You can easily ignore what someone outright says in an ad. It's the stickers, billboards, vending machines and all the little things that you don't notice in the games at first glance that can be subliminal.

     

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  6.  
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    Matt, Dec 5th, 2005 @ 6:26am

    Re: Personally, I really rarely notice them.

    I agree but I do notice them.. the Cingular logos, Burger Kings, etc. are all over the place in the lastest NFS games... would I recommend a greasy cheeseburger to someone because I flew past it in a game.. probably not.

    Now it would be nice if the companies were not so money hungry that they would lower the cost of their games if it contained advertising! Possibly a less expensive game WITH ads and a more expensive one WIHOUT. (Sirius/XM anyone?)

     

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  7.  
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    hautedawg, Dec 5th, 2005 @ 6:49am

    Re: Personally, I really rarely notice them.

    I agree, I rarely notice the ads for Burger King or Coke on these games. I play them for hours and fuel with Coke and Burger King to keep going. I don't notice the ads at all.

     

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  8.  
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    dan, Dec 5th, 2005 @ 7:01am

    No Subject Given

    I really do not believe that people are so easily coerced. I will dare to make an analogy here to violence in video games. If violent actions in video games do not lead to violent actions in real life, would seeing ads in a video game lead to purchases in real life?

    Now, before you toss my opinion asside, I do not believe that violence in video games will cause violent players (for normal people, psychopaths are another topic).

    Maybe I am different than the average consumer (and I suppose I must be, otherwise advertising would not work), but I very rarely buy items that I see ads and commercials for, rather I decide on a type of item that I want/need and then look at reviews of people who have already purchased it. I'm not saying that I am devoid of American consumerism, but I don't think that playing a game with ads in it would cause me to think any different about those products (at least not positivly, I may get angry at them for putting ads in the game and actually not buy the product).

     

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  9.  
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    ross, Dec 5th, 2005 @ 8:22am

    No Subject Given

    its about name recognition. if you never see or hear a name of a brand or product, you will skip over it as it sits on the shelf, and pick up the product you have seen or heard of before.

    out of sight, out of mind.

    the sales people need to layer the exposure:
    -a friend tells you about smallfort
    -you see an ad on tv for smallfort
    -you hear about smallfort on the radio
    -you see smallfort in your video game
    -you see smallfort on the shelf

    of course you won't go out and buy the item just from seeing it in your video game, but if you see it there and every where else, inclination is greater.

     

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  10.  
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    Tom, Dec 5th, 2005 @ 8:35am

    Re: No Subject Given

    I got brainwashed by Burnout 3. All I saw was ads for Axes and Tigerwoods 2006...i bought both...can anyone feel the my sarcastic tone...if someone has that little mind control to fall prey to an ad in a video game then I plan on making a video game with ad for buying my web widgets....(a hand stamp that says "U are a jackass! Buy more widgets!")

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 5th, 2005 @ 9:28am

    Sarcasm?

    I think Mike was sarcastic in his comments, but everyone here seems to be taking him seriously.

     

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  12.  
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    Jason.Q, Dec 5th, 2005 @ 9:54am

    Product placement

    Product placement as opposed to direct ads in video games, movies, and even the old radio shows of yore have always been more effective than a direct advertisement of a product. Often, a famous actor is using the product, like a soda can or even a car- did anyone notice how the second Matrix Movie was basically a huge advert for that crappy Caddy they had out that year? James Bond uses a specific cell phone, not to mention his ubiquitous drink of choice. Interestingly, in video games I have played, (burnout 3 comes to mind) I was not compelled to buy any of EA's other games, although I snatched up BF2 and there is a BF1 ad in there so maybe i was influenced. Ultimately that purchase was based on good reviews i believe. Perhaps it's the difference between a nonpassive,educated consumer and a passive one. The Ipod looks cool, but the Zen is cheaper with the same features and less of the proprietary issues, so Zen it is. Something I did realize when I read this was how much more interested I would be in a fantasy product taken from a video game that takes pains to populate it's world with imaginary products such as in San Andreas, I'd love to get ahold of some of those clothes in the game (beyond what is actually available) and would even like to get ahold of the highly addictive soda featured in the game :D... Let me know Rockstar.

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 10th, 2007 @ 4:17pm

    thx for helping me in my speech

     

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  14.  
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    Gamer, Sep 14th, 2007 @ 10:32am

    I agree and disagree

    I never had a single though toward wanting a product that was tied into a game. Althouhg my medium is RPG'S, I have played more violent games. I never acted out the games, except for one. I was about eleven and I was into a fighting game, but it was about saving people, so it tuaght me in a good way.
    I believe people can really learn from vidoe games that arent just about racing, killing, and gangs. RPG's ,or other games like them,are good for calming and forcing the brain to work out challenges in the game.

     

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  15.  
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    gamer, Sep 14th, 2007 @ 10:41am

    Re: No Subject Given

    People are educated into believing propaganda in everything, even video games. But the only reason why we,meaning us that posted on this site, do not, is because while your playing a game like NASCAR, you couldnt care less for ads. If you play NFS. You only worry about the cops or other racers. In a slower game like THUG. You are more likly to notice them. In RPG'S you dont see them,usually. Do you think that anyone simple minded enough to fall for the ADs would bother to look up this site? I am only 15 and I can see things that most of the world is forced to look over, due to propaganda.

    If you question me look up http://zpub.com/un/chomsky.html

    Look for Propaganda, American-style.

     

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  16.  
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    gamer, Sep 14th, 2007 @ 10:45am

    Re: Re: No Subject Given

    I humbly agree... Anyone that retarded does not even deserve to own a Vidoe Game.

     

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  17.  
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    gamer, Sep 14th, 2007 @ 10:45am

    Re: Re: Re: No Subject Given

    mybad... Video Game

     

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  18.  
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    gamer, Sep 14th, 2007 @ 10:46am

    Re: Sarcasm?

    Oh..................(Sarcasm)

     

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  19.  
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    gamer, Sep 14th, 2007 @ 10:49am

    Re: Product placement

    I never gave a damn about any famous person and a product they used. If Micheal Jackson drank Mountain Dew, I would give a damn, while other peopl would quiet drinking it.

    You see how stupid people are made by this society.

     

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  20.  
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    gamer, Sep 14th, 2007 @ 10:51am

    Re: Re: Product placement

    sry for the errors in the above post, i meant, I wouldn't give a damn, while other people would quit drinking it.

    sry

     

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  21.  
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    Matt, Dec 9th, 2007 @ 12:38am

    Re: Perhaps...

    You might not see them, but you know they are there and your mind is still registering them and taking them into account, its kind of like a subliminal message that blinks really fast on an add, that makes you want a McDonalds burger (just an example)...you didn't see the message, but it still has its effect because your mind knows it was there even if you didn't see it with your eyes.

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 3rd, 2009 @ 10:38am

    people do what they see in the game and it teaches bad people to bad stuff

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 3rd, 2009 @ 10:39am

    people do things in the game like shooting up shools and do them in rill life.

     

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