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BizReport : Advertising archives : May 29, 2012

UK: Advergames are ads, rules apply

The body responsible for governing online advertising in the UK has reiterated its rules surrounding what is, and what isn't, acceptable with advergames. Do your advergames fall short of the rules?

by Helen Leggatt

The UK's Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) reveals that, while very few complaints have been made to the UK's advertising watchdog, there are still pitfalls that businesses need to keep in mind.

Advergames that are in paid-for space online or are on an advertiser's own website fall under the UK Code of Non-Broadcast Advertising, Sales Promotion and Direct Marketing - the CAP Code.

According to the body's guidelines, "advergames that are made available on the advertiser's own website, as downloadable apps or in social media under the advertiser's control and that are directly connected with the supply or transfer of goods, services, opportunities and gifts" must comply with the CAP Code.

In particular, advergames must comply with Rule 2.1 of the CAP Code which states, "marketing communications must be obviously identifiable as such".

Of particular concern is the advertising to children through advergames. Children and young people playing online may find it difficult to identify advergames as advertising, potentially putting them at greater risk of harm.

"Advergames and all kinds of online marketing are now regulated by the same codes as TV advertising, but what the codes don't cover is the amount of time a child is exposed to an advert nor the type of messaging," Dr Agnes Nairn, a professor of marketing and co-author of the book Consumer Kids, told the BBC.

"Even kids of quite a young age, if they see a TV advert, they know it's an advert and they can be a little bit skeptical about it. With advergames and other kinds of immersive advertising, you don't have the opportunity to do that. It happens at an unconscious, implicit, automatic level."

Tags: advergames, advertising, brand marketing, engagement, online advertising, online gaming, UK

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