Van Reijmersdal, E. A., Rozendaal, E., & Buijzen, M. (2012). Effects of prominence, involvement, and persuasion knowledge on children’s cognitive and affective responses to advergames. Journal of Interactive Marketing. 26(1), 33-42. DOI:10.1016/j.intmar.2011.04.005

The integrated and highly involving nature of advergames has led to criticism and concern among academics and caretakers. It is assumed that children are highly susceptible to persuasion via advergames, but empirical evidence is scarce. Therefore, this study examined the effects of three factors typically associated with advergames: brand prominence, game involvement, and (limited) persuasion knowledge on cognitive and affective responses. An experiment among 7 to 12 year old children (N = 104) showed that brand prominence and game involvement influenced children’s responses, while persuasion knowledge did not. Brand prominence led to increased brand recall and recognition, whereas game involvement led to more positive brand attitudes. The effect of game involvement was mediated by game attitude, indicating that children are susceptible to affective mechanisms induced by the game. Crucially, our results demonstrate that brand prominence evokes cognitive responses, while game involvement leads to affective responses. Finally, our study revealed that persuasion knowledge (i.e. knowledge of the commercial source of the game and its persuasive intent) did not influence cognitive or affective responses to the brand or game. This implies that even if children understand the game’s commercial and persuasive nature, they do not use this knowledge as a defense against the advergame’s effects. This study has important theoretical and practical implications regarding the influence of new marketing techniques on children.
advergames, brand placement, product placement, games, children, persuasion knowledge, involvement