Wendy’s harnesses the power of in-game advertising

From outdoor to digital to good old fashioned print, advertising has taken many forms over the years. Now, in an innovative new way to promote its Baconator range, Wendy’s is advertising on billboards in popular video games.

Wendy’s ads will appear on billboards, bus shelters and TV screens within games spanning Xbox, PlayStation 4, Steam and PC platforms. 

US company Playwire Media is behind the technology for the “dynamic in-game creative”. Playwire Media is the world’s largest aggregate of entertainment inventory and is represented in New Zealand by premium digital media providers, Digital Commons. 

Digital Commons’ Lisa Ison explains that games will be selected based on target audience and ads will be served to the correct people via their IP addresses, a method similar to the mechanics governing Google’s geo products. 

“Frequency caps can be applied, possibly the core advantage of digital ‘billboard’ delivery over its traditional counterpart,” says Ison. “For one impression to ‘count’, an ad unit will have been cumulatively on screen for 10 seconds, meaning one impression could be the ad served 10 times for one second. 

“Ad units are intentionally designed to be non-clickable so the gameplay experience is not disrupted. Brands fit naturally within the game environment, maintaining the ‘realism’ of the game and in turn increasing brand favorability with players.”

With Wendy’s core target audience comprising of males aged 18-30, Wendy’s NZ CEO Danielle Lendich says gaming is a highly relevant setting for the fast food brand.

“We know gamers fit into our target market and saw this as a unique opportunity and a new and exciting way to get our message across to a hard-to-reach audience.”

Wendy’s is also targeting Snapchat users as part of its Baconator campaign, with a ten-second video ad and national geo filter set to go live from 23 August.

Wendy’s has already launched its TVC for the Baconator, which shows six Wendy’s fans attend ‘bacon rehab’ in order to open up about their love for the meat.

In other markets, notable brands using in-game technology include GoPro, Steam, Bethesda, Activision, 2k Games and EA. Ison says Digital Commons is unaware of any local brands using the technology to date.

“We’ve arrived in the age of ‘media’; not digital and offline media, display and billboards, just display,” she says. “Billboards are billboards, whether they’re served digitally or consist of print adhered to wood and plastic – an ad viewed is an ad viewed.”

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