The Anil Ambani group’s gaming company, Zapak, recently created four games for the movie Raavan. The film’s director Mani Ratnam, however, insisted the games should be hosted only on social networking site Facebook.
To gain more mileage, Ratnam could have hosted them on branded gaming websites too. But Arun Mehra, COO of Zapak, is not surprised. He believes “Facebook is proving to be a larger advergaming platform now”.
Advergaming uses brand-neutral video games to popularise a product, organisation or viewpoint. Creating an advergame costs between Rs 3 lakh and Rs 50 lakh, and takes about three weeks to create one. It’s effective too. On an average, says Mehra, “users play an advergame for 10 minutes, which is more impactful than a 10-second advertisement”.
Zapak has created advergames for brands like Pepsi and Axe. It has also developed annual gaming properties like Parle-G Super Gamer (for kids), Paddlepop Gaming League (for kids), Intel Campus Gaming Star (for college going students) and the Gillette Mach 3 India Gaming Championship (above 18 years).
Zapak is not alone. Consider this Bingo (from foods major ITC) creative on Facebook by contests2win. Sushma, a 25-year-old internet addict, loves to burn her friend’s page. Her friend, Lata, retaliates similarly. Sushma, in fact, has many such friends who love burning each other’s pages with red chillies.
“This is one of our most recent games and has been created for ITC’s Bingo on Facebook. This is a fun game but ensures the desired consumer engagement as well as builds awareness about a product,” says Raj Menon, COO of contests2win.
Contests2win plans to develop two advergames every month. Around 20-25 per cent of its revenues come from advergames from companies like Coke, Pepsi, Bingo, ICICI Prudential, IDBI Fortis, Garnier and Intel. It developed cricket games for Coke for the recently-concluded Indian Premier League (IPL) which was on the Delhi DareDevil site; another game for Idea for FIFA WorldCup; and also delivered a game for Fun Cinemas. It is also creating social games similar to Facebook’s ‘Farmville’ for one of its clients.
“Games are designed in such a way that consumers don’t get it the first time. They just about complete it in the second attempt and by the third, they’ve cracked it. So, on an average, a consumer spends about five minutes playing a game. If about the game gets 20,000 plays, that’s about 100,000 interactive minutes that a brand gets,” notes Menon.
Social networking portal ibibo.com, too, has associated with 25-30 brands to create advergaming applications. Ashish Kashyap, CEO of ibibo.com, says: “We deliberately don’t use banner ads on our portal because we feel it is not right to disturb users, each of who spend 60 minutes on an average per day on Ibibo. Instead, we take on advergames, created by our in-house team.”
Ibibo not only created games for movies like Race, Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi and Teen Patti, but have also created live multi-player games for Samsung Corby that users can play with friends. Ibibo created a singing game with Airtel where users can sing on a Karaoke and publish it on friends’ profile page.