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BizReport : Advertising archives : April 23, 2011

Kids don't recognize advergames as advertising

Children aren't recognizing ads in advergames as advertising, according to a recent study, highlighting the need for standard advertising notifications.

by Helen Leggatt

Despite the appearance of ad breaks within advergames that notify children that the games are a form of advertising, children "fail to recognize" them as ads, found the survey conducted by professors Soontae An and Susannah Stern and reported in The New York Times.

This study tested one currently used ad break for an advergame to see whether its presence helped the participating 112 8 to 11 year olds recognize the promotional nature of the advergame and mitigated the effects of advertising within the game. The children were split in to two groups, one of which was shown the advergame with ad breaks, the other without.

According to an abstract from the resulting report, "Mitigating the Effects of Advergames on Children: Do Advertising Breaks Work?", ad breaks had no impact on the children's ability to recognize the commercial nature of the game.

In fact, the research found that when the children were asked to identify the source of the game, both sets of children gave similar responses; only 10% of all participants correctly identified the game as an advertisement, the researchers found.

Susannah Stern said the research suggested that "companies or policy makers needed to consider some way to standardize notifications about advertising online so children understood what they were seeing".

Tags: advergames, advertising, children

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