Neurensics proves positive effects of gamification on our brain

Thanks to Neurensics the positive effect of gamification on our brain has been scientifically proven.

By Menno Gottmer – Player 2 @BrandNewGame

Neurensics is a neuromarketing research and consulting firm based in Holland, that has direct access to high-end neuroimaging techniques. Using these techniques Neurensics can measure the brain activity of potential customers, and subsequently determine the objective motives of these customers. As a result, Neurensics can provide their clients with unique insights into what customers are actually experiencing in their brains when dealing with certain images, products, advertisements, logos and games.

Neurensic’s research has been especially fruitful for KLM, the Royal Dutch Airlines. Early 2012, KLM developed a strategy with the qualitative objective to connect KLM to holiday spirit, and the quantitative objective to acquire people’s email addresses and their preferred holiday destinations. This was a necessary strategy, because KLM was still too often seen as expensive and merely for business, and therefore not top of mind at many holidaymakers. To reach this objective, KLM’s advertising agency developed a thematic campaign with the theme “To what new memory can we bring you?”, for which they created a television commercial.

Besides this campaign, the Crossmedia Division of the Telegraaf Media Group developed an activation campaign. The core of this activation campaign was the “KLM Vakantiespel”, an online revamped version of the well-known Memory card game. Before players could start playing the “KLM Vakantiespel”, they had to upload their portrait photo. The game then processed these photos in various vacation scenario images. As a result, in these images, you as a player could see yourself in a not yet enjoyed holiday in the Middle East, Africa, or any other distant KLM destination. These images were your ‘new memories’, as it were. For each found image match, you received a stamp in your virtual passport with the destination depicted on those matching images. After you finished the game you were asked to choose your preferable holiday destination from all the received stamps. After this, you immediately heard if you won any prices. Every day players could win two tickets to a ‘new memory’. In total, the “KLM Vakantiespel” was played more than 67,000 times, and more than 31,000 players left their email addresses and preferred holiday destinations behind.

Using the neuroimaging techniques of Neurensics, both the thematic campaign and the activation campaign were studied for their effects on the consumer’s brain. The thematic campaign’s television commercial scored positive in the brain on dimensions that are important for buying behaviour. However, Neurensics’ results also showed that the sought connection between KLM and holiday spirit was not made, something the activation campaign’s “KLM Vakantiespel” díd achieve. Neurensics’ objective neurological research showed that the game brought its players in the holiday spirit and also made the KLM brand significantly more relevant to the players. These are interesting results, not only because for the first time the relationship between gamification and brain activity has been demonstrated, but also because previous neurological research already showed that future buying behaviour and self-relevance are strongly interconnected. In short, Neurensics’ research has shown for the first time that keeping people busy with a brand via a game has great value to advertisers.

Unfortunately, many famous brands still turn towards traditional one-way advertising methods, such as television and radio commercials. Although gamification and serious games are becoming increasingly more used for various purposes by various companies, they are still not used that much for brand related purposes. While working at BrandNewGame, I learned that among many of the biggest brands there is still a largely negative connotation towards gaming in general. It would be wise for them to stop burying their heads in the sand, and look at the scientific facts that research firms such as Neurensics provide.


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BrandNewGame – Project overview in less than 5 minutes


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Ingame advertising: Base-x


The Dutch Royal Airforce has developed a game called Base-X and uses in-game advertising in Battlefield 2142 to promote this. In my opinion it would have been much more effective to have a Modification developed in BF2 or America’s Army like we proposed together with Power Unlimited some time ago…

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Got Milk?

A real cool game produced in 2007 to raise the awareness amongst children that drinking milk is actually good for you!

This game contains multiple levels with a great learning curve.
It is REALLY impressive.

Check it out here

Also be sure to check out the Got Milk website. It’s very nice as well!

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Rainbow Six Vegas – Axe Can Easter Egg (HD)


A good effort to add some extra fun to a game. This easter egg of Axe reveals a mini video showing ‘fake bloopers’ of spy – agents.

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Consumer Generated Axe / Lynx commercial (9 sec.)


Haha – Well done!

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Moorhuhn – on of the first PC advergames, now over 35 products!


One of the first advergames I can remember was programmed ten years ago and was called ‘Moorhuhn’, a game to promote a Whiskey label.

Know Moorhuhn?

Was it one of the winners who received a CD with the game or even a member of the promotions team – up to today it is unclear how the Moorhuhn escaped. Fact is that it wasn’t planned.

Whether by Email or as download from private websites the Moorhuhn started its conquest of a growing fan community. Even on floppy discs the chicken got multiplied – for the benefit of those people that weren’t part of this phenomenon called internet yet.

Like a virus…

Like a virus the little game spread on German PC’s and also beyond the country’s borders (in The Netherlands it was a huge success). The advertising industry cites the Moorhuhn as the most successful example of viral marketing; some even claim it was the first viral marketing campaign ever.

The media quickly adopted the game and spun competitions and events around it which resulted in groaning or even collapsing download servers.

The downloads hosted by well known providers numbered in the millions, the unknown number of privately passed on games most likely ranges far higher and the number of killed virtual fowl is certainly beyond count.

The success of the game was in fact so profound that in 2002 research showed that 84% of all Germans knew the Moorhuhn. A representative market research in 2008 with focus on gamers determined that 98% of all German gamers know the chicken.

Right now the Moorhuhn franchise has grown to over 35 titles in ten years. If people still doubt whether advergaming is interesting… have them call me!

More information about the history of the game can be found here

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Game in a banner: a Bannergame!


A very cool example of a game integrated in a banner. Not necessarily new, but very well executed. You can play realtime versus other players on 5 different websites.


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Google AdSense for Games: In-Game Advertising


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Alfa Romeo MiTo _ In-game Advertising


The Alpha Romeo Mito’s new commercial is definately game-inspired, hereby some ingame advertisement billboards… not the best way in my opinion, but feasible…

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