From Science Daily:

At least once a week, two thirds of all children of primary-school age will play an internet game that was created to draw attention to a brand. Most of these advertisements are for snacks and candy. Only 6% of these children are aware that such advergames are advertisements. In the meantime, such games do affect their behaviour, discovered Frans Folkvord, and if it were up to him they would be banned. Folkvord, a behavioural scientist at Radboud University, will be awarded a PhD for his work on 13 January 2016.

Good news for marketers, bad news for anyone concerned about the increase of unhealthy eating behaviour amongst children: shortly after playing a game with an embedded food advertisement, children ate 55% more of the candy offered to them than children who had played a game with an embedded toy advertisement. Frans Folkvord tested the effects of such hidden online food advertisements on the eating behaviour of more than 1000 children.

Not clear that it is advertising

“In contrast to television, where the clearly delimited blocks of commercials can help viewers guard against temptation, on the internet, advertising is mixed with other types of content. The websites of food manufacturers contain games, which also offer children the option of sharing games with their friends.”

Folkvord discovered that children do not recognise the games as advertisements, even when brand names and logos are clearly visible. Moreover, it does not matter whether the games are about candy or fruit: children eat more candy…

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