Note: This advice is given by the CAP Executive about non-broadcast advertising. It does not constitute legal advice. It does not bind CAP, CAP advisory panels or the Advertising Standards Authority.
Advergames are typically electronic games that are used to advertise a product, brand or an organisation. When they appear in paid-for space online they are covered by the Code, as are those made available on an advertiser’s own website, as downloadable apps or in social media under the advertiser’s control where the content can be considered directly connected with the supply or transfer of goods, services, opportunities and gifts (See ‘Remit: Own websites’).
To date, the ASA has received very few complaints about advergames but those it has have tended to relate to the potential appeal to children and any perceived harm that that might have as well as issues around whether they are obviously identifiable as ads. Prior to the extension of the Code’s online remit, a football game on Mousebreaker, a free games website, which re-directed players to a football themed advergame on the Carling website featuring their branding was considered to be within remit because the ASA understood that the advertiser had paid for the link and it was therefore effectively a paid-for ad (Coors Brewers Ltd, 19 November 2008).
Following the extension of online remit, a Krave cereal advergame made available on Facebook featuring Krave branding and a character, the Krave Krusader, which players controlled for the purpose of collecting chocolate was considered to be directly connected with the supply of Krave cereal by virtue of the branding and therefore within remit (Kellogg Marketing and Sales Company (UK) Ltd, 15 February 2012).
Similarly, a Chewits advergame, made available on the Chewits website, which contained images of an animated dinosaur, Chewie, locating sweets hidden in British landmarks was considered to be within remit (Leaf Italia SRL t/a Leaf Confectionery, 14 March 2012).
An app called “WeetaKid”, which used interactive QR (Quick Response) technology and included games in which players controlled a WeetaKid character to collect items to populate WeetaKid’s ‘world’ was also considered to be within remit as it frequently prompted players to scan the QR code from a promotional box of Weetabix and regularly implied that the player’s character’s performance would be enhanced were the player to do so (Weetabix Ltd, 13 February 2013).
Updated 28 September 2016