Subliminal Messages

Since people are becoming a lot more knowledgeable of what techniques advertisers are using to get their products across, many companies are turning to in-game video game advertising to get their messages across subliminally. Although we may not notice that most of the ads on the video games are there, the fact is that subliminally in our mind we do see them ads and it causes our reaction towards the product whether it be good or bad. An article in the C&G Monthly Magazine demonstrated how product placement of “Gatorade advertisements in six EA Sports titles – NHL 09 NHL 10 NBA LIVE 07 NBA LIVE 08 NBA LIVE 09 and NBA Street Homecourt – led to a 24% increase in Gatorade sales in the participating households yielding a $3.11 return on investment.” In reality many sports video games strive to be as realistic as possible and product placement on billboards and sidelines is an accepted part of the sports landscape. Elizabeth Harz, Vice-President of Global Media in EA Sports, stated, “for the first time advertisers are able to link the value of their in-game marketing or sponsorship to actual sales. Now brands can feel confident adding gaming as a core media channel for their advertising.” Gerardo Guzman, Nielsen’s Director of Media Product Leadership, added that “bringing our industry accepted ad effectiveness understanding to video games is another way to help marketers understand how consumers respond to advertising across different environments.”

Dan Poindexter said that the rise of product placement in video games was because of the rise of consoles such as the XBOX 360, Playstations 3 and Nintendo Wii. “Advertisers began dreaming up fresh and innovative ways to contact target markets through new channels, reaching a steadily growing populace of gamers by placing products and virtual ads right into the games they play every day at home,” Poindexter added.

I think product placement in video games is probably the best idea that advertisers have ever had. The reason I say this is because the audience that plays video games is probably one that doesn’t watch television much because they are constantly on their game consoles. By implementing advertising into their games, advertisers are able to reach this group of people without having to interrupt what they like to do, play video games. Whenever I play FIFA 2011 on the Playstation 3 I have began to notice that not only is there advertising on the sideline boards but now the players are even beginning to carry name brand shoes. Advertising has such a big role in NBA 2K11 that a game mode in the game is named after a brand the “Sprite Blacktop”. While these messages are subliminally put into the games, many gamers have been noticing them more and more but most don’t mind it. Most gamers don’t mind the image of gatorade popping up when they introduce the score in their favorite football or basketball game so long as it doesn’t interrup the game play. Advertising in video games has always interested me because it combines two of the things that I like to  do the most. This is definitely a field that I wouldn’t mind getting into in the future.


W, Eric. (2010, September 16). Study Finds that In-Game Product Placement Works. C&G Monthly. Retrieved from:

Poindexter, Dan. (2010, February 1). Virtually Untapped: The Current State of Product Placement in Video Gaming. Holy Cow Branding. Retrieved from:

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