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Analyzing advergames: active diversions or actually deception. An exploratory study of online advergames content

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Purpose ‐ The purpose of this paper is to review the nature of advergames and the rhetoric versus reality of their claimed effects and effectiveness, focusing specifically on their use by children. Design/methodology/approach ‐ A content analysis of major web sites that are likely to have particular appeal to children and an evaluation in order to determine whether the material contained in these sites would be permitted if similar codes of practice, as for other media, would be applied to internet sites. Findings ‐ The paper finds that the majority of web sites do not comply with the existing broadcasting codes of practice for mainstream advertising. Research limitations/implications ‐ The study is exploratory in nature and the sample size limited. Practical implications ‐ As the paper suggests that advertisers should critically examine the content of their web sites and open the debate about what constitutes acceptable online behavior. Originality/value ‐ The paper offers insights about the content of advergames in practice and the potential problems associated with regulation of advertising in different media forms, especially new and evolving media forms.
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Keywords: Advertising; Children (age groups); Internet; Regulation; Video games

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2009-03-13

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