Barrie Gunter
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Brands and advergames
in Kids and branding in a digital world
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Brands have also become embedded on online game worlds and virtual reality settings. These computer-driven worlds have created parallel forms of existence alongside the offline world. Some are based on specific games and others are online social environments, similar to social media sites, but in simulated three-dimensional settings. As with social media sites, brands have entered pre-existing virtual game worlds and created their own. These deliberately brand virtual settings nevertheless appear in many ways to be ordinary online games. Closer inspection reveals that they are permeated by brand appearances. Moreover, brands are integrated into games rather than always being set apart from them. Consumers as ‘players’ are invited to manipulate objects on screen that are covered in brand labels and logos and therefore receive rapid-repeated brand exposures. This chapter examines what is known about these initiatives specifically in the context of computer game environments and how children respond to them.

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