Google just started beaming a text ad for inGamePartners through my site. What's more remarkable, it seems to be the first ad to promote services of "the #1 name in in-game advertising and marketing" (I feel guys at Massive Incorporated might disagree with the #1 claim, though). The larger image is inGame's implementation of a GE billboard within Counter Strike (view the larger original, see some more, compare to this in-game graffiti).
Update (several hrs later): Just spotted another Google ad, this time for Massive, that read: "The largest in-game advertising network to the gaming audience." It appears most often at this page, although you may have to F5 a couple of times. Is the war officially on? By the way, when you Google for "advertising in video games", one other company comes up on the right-hand side: Bidamic.
"inGame's new advertising clients include Emerge Partners, which represents liquor brands Absolut, Remy Martin, and Jim Bean, Citrix Online, Electronic Arts, the United States National Guard, and "Lord of the Rings: the Battle for Middle Earth," through its game network partners. These partners include PHXX, GriffinRUN, and the Global Gaming League; inGame offers game network subscribers the option of linking to inGame's servers to play games for free in exchange for receiving digital ads."
--MediaPost, Oct.18, '04
"We can accept and convert virtually any image format, including PDF/PSD/TIFF/PNG/GIF/JPG/BMP. Frame-processed animation is also available as are custom ad sizes; the standard ad size are 256x144 pixels (IAB Standard Ad Sizes are also accepted on most of our network)."
"We can do anything for product placement. So say you’re playing Counter-Strike, which is the game we’re currently integrated into right now; let’s say you’re in Counter-Strike and you’re getting shot. And you’re losing health. So there could be generic water over there, or there could be this bottle over here [holds a bottle of Poland Spring]. The generic water is worth two points of health back, you take this [Poland Spring], and it’s another seven. So you get value added five extra points for drinking this. So it gets positive brand attributes and people associate this brand with better health. So we can do stuff like that."
--Darren Herman, inGame's CEO for InsideGamerOnline.com
"There will be an eerie sensation when a game player walks down a street and sees that same advertising campaign, say for a major motion picture that is starting its run next week, using the same artwork and delivery format as one he saw that evening in a game that he bought 3 months ago. Research says that it enriches the gaming experience and we can't see anything wrong with that observation."
--The Register, Dec.7, '04
"This study has provided some evidence that in the virtual world billboards for both high and low value products have a higher recall than in ‘real life’ situations such as sports events."
--Journal of Interactive Advertising, Fall '04
Nielsen to Audit Game Ads
Use Of In-Game Ads Grows
Unexplored: Deus Ex Machinima
Advertising in Video Games: Problems
(Social) Advertising in Computer Games
Future: Product Placement