In-Game Advertising Case Study

Instructor: Lauren Riley

Lauren has taught college level organizational behavior and has a master's degree in Business Administration.

In this lesson, we will delve into a case study in which in-game advertising was used in a unique way to boost sales for Pizza Hut. We will discuss the campaign and its effectiveness as well as the effectiveness of in-game advertising as a marketing channel.

In-Game Advertising

Gamers enjoy video games because of the immersive experience of an interactive medium. The last time you logged in to your favorite game, do you recall seeing ads? Chances are you did even if you didn't realize it at the time. In-game advertising (IGA), or the act of advertising in computer and video games, has become increasingly popular as the gaming industry looks to create a quality experience for its users at a price point they are willing to pay. In this lesson, we will look at an interesting example of IGA wherein Sony and Pizza Hut partnered to provide gamers with a unique service.

Pizza Hut aimed to capitalize on the idea that many think pizza and gaming go well together.
pizza and gaming

EverQuest II

EverQuest II is a 3D fantasy MMORPG, or a massively multiplayer online role-playing game, in which gamers interact and role-play with one another as well as the game itself in a shared virtual world. Examples of well-known MMORPGs include World of Warcraft and RuneScape. Developed by Sony Online Entertainment, Everquest II is the sequel to EverQuest that went live in 2004.

In the game, each player creates a character to interact within the world of Norrath. Users select a race and type for their character that will affect their abilities in-game. Their character can go on quests, in-game goals, explore the world, kill monsters, find treasure, and socialize with other players. Through these collective experiences, characters gain experience, which levels them up.

EverQuest II is described as an incredibly immersive game-playing experience in which gamers will invest long periods of their leisure time. Users are typically males in the 16- to 34-year-old range. Because of their affinity for gaming, these users often opt out of watching television, making IGA a more effective way to reach this target audience.

Pizza Hut IGA

In 2004, when Everquest II was initially released, IGA spending hit $34 million dollars and grew substantially in subsequent years. While IGA had been around for a while, with the first instance reported in 1978 when the computer game Adventureland included a promotion for its next game Pirate Adventure, Pizza Hut's IGA implementation in EverQuest II was a unique and interesting endeavor. Capitalizing on the typical gamer's affinity for pizza and the immersive, time-intensive experience of Everquest II, Pizza Hut created an IGA platform that enabled gamers to order pizza virtually in the game that would show up in real life at their doorstep.

The ad read, ''While playing EverQuest II just type /pizza and a web browser will launch the online ordering section of pizzahut.com. Fill in your info and just kick back until fresh pizza is delivered straight to your door.'' Users were cautioned to pick a timely point in the game to make their order as game play does not pause during the ordering sequence.

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