The authors of this 2018 study investigated how audiovisual feedback influenced enjoyment and brand recall. They studied 561 players, on average 26 years old, and slightly more (57%) women playing four different online games (enjoyment: high vs. low and cognitive load: high vs. low).
According to their results, players experience more enjoyment when a character’s facial expression, vocal sounds, and a progress bar confirm game achievements. The brand recall was slightly lower (25% retention) than product placement in movies (30%).
When a player’s cognitive load level was high, their attention narrowed at the expense of noticing the ads within the game. If the brand is unrelated to the gameplay, the recall of the visual brand is lower. Players who experience a higher cognitive load pay less attention to the brand.
In-game feedback, specifically a status bar, auditory feedback, instant (positive or negative) feedback by reducing characters’ speed, and facial expressions were key for experiencing enjoyment in the game.
Increased enjoyment can have a negative effect on explicit brand recall. Brands looking to work with games must make the game mechanics about their brand and not simply rely on the visual placement of their brand.
Read the full study
Vyvey, T., Castellar, E. N., & Van Looy, J. (2018). Loaded with fun? The impact of enjoyment and cognitive load on brand retention in digital games. Journal of Interactive Advertising
(1), 72-82. https://doi.org/10.1080/15252019.2018.1446370