Created By: Pichu-kun on December 11, 2017 Last Edited By: Pichu-kun on February 25, 2018

Advertisement Game

A video game designed to advertise a product

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Since the beginning of gaming, companies have noticed that video games could be used as a way for advertising their products. Thus the advertisement game was born.

An advertisement game, or "advergame" as they're usually called, is a particular sort of licensed video game that is meant to advertise a product, such as a food snack or clothing company. Few are available for retail release, with most preferring to be pack-in, freeware, or online.

As gamers (and parents) are not keen to such blatant marketing, many advertisement games instead opt for the stealthy route. They don't make it noticeable from the title that it's a marketing ploy and don't include blatant Product Placement from the get go. Sometimes this works, however other times gamers can still notice and word of mouth will spread. Tropes Are Not Bad, however, as some advergames have become Cult Classics or have even reached popularity despite being created to market products.

Compare to Merchandise-Driven, Licensed Game, and Product Placement.


First-Person Shooters
  • Duty Calls is a game that parodies military first-person shooter games such as Call of Duty and Medal of Honor. It was a covert advergame meant to advertise another game, Bulletstorm.
  • Chex Quest is a 1996 mod of DOOM that was given away in boxes of Chex Quest cereal.

  • Millsberry was an online game that was in service from 2004 to 2010. It advertised General Mills and their various food products. Millsberry is one of the most well-known example as, despite being a marketing tool, it was still a fun game where you could create your own house, interact with others, and play games similar to Neopets.
  • Pepsi Man is a Japanese-only Playstation game that advertises for Pepsi. It uses one of their mascots, PEPSIMAN, and is an Endless Running Game.
  • Chase the Chuck Wagon is a 1983 video game for the Atari 2600 meant to advertise Purina dog food. It was available through mail order by sending in proofs of purchase to Purina. It's a simple maze game.

  • Doritos Crash Course is a Xbox Arcade game for the Xbox 360 meant to market Doritos chips.
  • McDonald's Treasure Land Adventure is a platformer for the Sega Genesis, released by Treasure in 1993, advertising McDonald's. Ronald McDonald finds a piece of a treasure map, leading to a treasure hunt, and his friends, including Hamburglar, Birdie, and Grimace all appear in the game to help him along his quest.
  • Cool Spot is a platformer starring an anthropomorphized version of the red spot from the logo of 7-Up soft drink, which was part of an advertising campaign in the 1990s.

Puzzle Games
  • Grow Clay is an advergame spinoff of the GROW series in partnership with a Japanese company called TECROSS.

Racing Games
  • 1989's Vette is an early example. It was a racing game that advertised the Chevrolet Corvette. In it, you raced around San Francisco in a 3D environment. It also came with a chance to win a trip to San Francisco.

Role-Playing Games
  • The RPG-style Darkened Skye is an advergame for Skittles candy. However, some sources say the dev team payed for the right to use the brand instead of the other way around. Nevertheless, it contains Skittles scattered around that give the protagonist abilities.

Simulation Games
Community Feedback Replies: 14
  • December 11, 2017
  • December 11, 2017
    A better, non-blended name might be Advertisement Game or Game-Like Advertisement.

    Note that some examples on Product Placement might actually be this trope instead of Product Placement. The aforementioned Mc Donalds Treasure Land Adventure isn't really a Product Placement for McDonald's since the whole point of the game is to be an ad, but the game's work page has PP as an example.

    That brings me to the question of whether this is a subtrope of Product Placement or if that sort of example is just misuse of Product Placement?
  • December 11, 2017
    ^ I know it's a sub-trope of licensed games, but I'm not so sure on that. Most advergames are too overt to count as simple product placement.
  • December 11, 2017
    Yeah, I figure it's probably misuse, which is helpful to know for this trope, imo.

    Different topic regarding this draft, though: Can the Weasel Words be revised, please? "X has been called an ad for Skittles," for example, seems to be Word Cruft-y.
  • December 11, 2017
    ^ Different sources say different things on the game. It's consider an advergame but one of the dev members says that it isn't.
  • December 11, 2017
    Okay, cool. I didn't know that. I'm good with the change since it explains why it says "has been called X." Have a hat.

    The name isn't the funniest thing it could be, but it's clear and concise, which is good enough for me.
  • December 12, 2017
    Action Biker was an eight-bit-era British game for various home computers. The main character was "Clumsy Colin", an advertising mascot for the snack food KP Skips, and eating packets of Skips in the game replenished your energy.
  • December 12, 2017
    • Sneak King is a videogame developed by Blitz Studios based on the Burger King advertising character "The King". It has The King sneaking around delivering Burger King food to hungry people. It was sold for $3.99 with the purchase of a value meal at the restaurant.

    More here.
  • December 12, 2017
    I've a question: fangames can work here or this is only for games made by companies to consoles and PC??

    I ask because a case I know is MUGEN, in which various mascots of big companies has been converted into fighters for this engine, most notably Ronald McDonald, Colonel Sanders, The (Burger) King and Pepsiman, as well other mascots and stages based on stuff like Microsoft Windows.
  • December 12, 2017
  • December 12, 2017
    I don't think having a company's mascot is enough to count as this. That's more like Product Placement or The Cameo. This is when pretty much the whole game is meant as the advertisement.
  • December 27, 2017
    In the real world, these things are called "advergames".
  • February 25, 2018
  • February 25, 2018
    Cool Spot is a platformer starring an anthropomorphized version of the red spot from the logo of 7-Up soft drink, which was part of an advertising campaign in the 1990s.