Games and Brand Extension – Do They Click?

For this article I wanted to look into the way that traditional games and gaming elements have been used to enter the mainstream space from a business standpoint to either incentivise consumers or engage them on a different level.

Games are primarily an entertainment medium, but that hasn’t stopped companies from having games developed to reach a different demographic than perhaps represents their core market. An ad campaign may run for 2 weeks, 4 weeks or 2 months but branding within a game can have a much longer shelf life. The most common example of brand extension within the gaming arena focuses on movie tie-ins. Many Disney/Pixar films release a game based on the film around the same date. It helps consumers engage with the film on a deeper level and get to know the characters and brand better making it ultimately more likely that additional purchases of merchandise or DVDs are made. The main issue with game tie-ins however is often they are rushed to coincide with the film release and most end up being fairly average titles. The sheer fact that the majority are aimed at a very young audience means though that children tend not to worry too much about this and just enjoy controlling the characters.

Looking at something completely different from an engagement aspect. Papa John’s pizza in the UK released a mobile gaming app which had you deal with pizza orders and create pizzas as perfectly and speedily as possible. App was priced at 69p with the hook being if you reached a certain score then you could earn a free pizza. It was a well made game and was quite a fun stand alone game as well as being challenging in the later levels. The only disappointing part was upon reaching your free pizza it was for collection only which limited me somewhat but was still a good prize.

Weight Watchers UK campaign last year focused on treating weight loss like a game thanks to the point system that was in use. It was an interesting take on things but it wasn’t continued for the 2013 marketing campaign. Arguably, despite the fresh take on losing weight, it didn’t engage the largely female audience of its membership base as even now, females are still in the minority when it comes to enjoying games. It perhaps didn’t resonate as strongly as it should have.

When there is a natural gaming tie-in that fits organically such as in Wreck-It-Ralph you get the best of both worlds – a good film and a very relevant game. You even have in-game advertising which can be seen in many of the Need For Speed series of games. Rockstar also create such believable worlds with their Grand Theft Auto series that there are teams dedicated to creating fictional brands within this universe – they actually extend their own brands within the games and also into the real world. Rusty Brown Ring Donuts is one that always springs to mind.

I’d be interested to hear any other examples you may have experienced perhaps in countries other than the UK.

The Benefits of Online Games for Kids

Kids enjoy playing online games and as a result, they often are glued to their computers for long periods. However, everything that is in excess can prove detrimental to one’s health. Nevertheless, there are many benefits generated from playing games online. As you shop around, you will discover many online games that target young children. Many of these games are interesting. Several scientific studies have discovered that they offer many benefits to kids, including:

· Social growth

Playing them exposes the kids to many people around the world. This can prove fun when they begin sharing with them. Kids get to talk to people, and in the course of sharing they make good friends. As they play and relate, the children gain knowledge, which helps them in social growth.

· Motivation

Many of the cash winning games available online attract a prize where the player gets to win the game. Children love rewards as well as deriving satisfaction in achieving small objectives developed in games. This win boosts their self-assurance making them to acquire some accomplishment. The kids learn how to overcome small objectives and thus, they are motivated to soldier on in the game as well as in real life.

· Multitasking

Many of the online free games for kids involve multitasking. These games involve getting to do several things all at the same time. This helps a great deal in making the kids multitasking experts.

· Reasoning

Playing birthday games among others helps to sharpen the kids mind; many of these games which increase the power of reasoning are commonly referred to as logic games.

· Improve eye-to-hand coordination

According to researchers, playing helps to improve eye-to-hand coordination, which is particularly important for the growth and development of the kid. This attribute is often transferred to real life, making the child very good at coordination.

· Build team spirit

The chance to play team games online helps the children to learn ways of cooperating. They learn the skills and abilities of other people as well as their way of thinking. Furthermore, they get the opportunity to meet different people and learn ways of dealing with them- qualities which are essential in fulfilling particular roles in the real world or in games.

· Improves technology abilities

Children who get the opportunity to play online games improve their technological abilities. This is particularly important in today’s world because the basic skills that are required at the workplace are computer skills and internet literacy.

Train Your Brain With Action Games and Fighting Games

Maybe you’ve heard that playing video games will rot your brain or lead to other negative consequences. While sitting in front of the screen for hours a day may take time away from other positive activities, the mental stimulation of game playing has proven benefits. Action games, fighting games and other fast-paced adventures can actually help your brain.

Studies have shown that playing action games can improve sharpness of vision, accuracy, alertness and response times. One study showed that gamers made accurate decisions 25% more quickly than those who don’t play. Oddly enough, fighting games and shooters have demonstrated more positive effects than strategy based games. The fast action provides a high level of stimulation that keeps the brain active and engaged. The ability to focus on a task at hand while ignoring distractions is enhanced by playing these types of games.

It has long been known that puzzles and games are good for aging individuals, with the benefits of improving mental fitness and reducing the cognitive decline of old age. Contrary to popular opinion, research suggests that video action games may be more effective than the old-fashioned crossword puzzle or card game. Maybe it’s time to pit Grandma and Grandpa against each other in a fighting game!

Gamers will be happy to hear that these effects increase with the amount of gaming. That is, the more time you spend playing video games, the more of these benefits you will see. Of course, it is still important to act with moderation. Too much time in the virtual world can result in neglecting things like work, school, family or physical activity.

So, do you need to drop hundreds of dollars on expensive game consoles or computer software? That is certainly an option. However, as the old saying goes, sometimes the best things are free. Gamers today have more options than ever before, and many of them won’t cost you a penny. From apps on your mobile phone to social networks and browser based Flash, HTML5 or JavaScript games, there are plenty of free options.

Remember, to realize the most benefits of brain boosting gaming, you’ll want to opt for fast-paced adventure and fighting games. Now that online games are sophisticated enough to rival traditional console, arcade and PC software games, it’s easy to find websites that let you play directly from a web browser. In fact, there are dozens of great free games available to you right now.

Get gaming and boost your brain power!