Promoting dental care to children using traditional and interactive media following threat appeals

Year of publication: 2012
Author(s): Panic K.; De Pelsmacker P. & Cauberghe V.
Appeared in: Advances in Advertising Research: Current Insights and Future Trends, vol.: 3, 331-340


In recent years, computer games have become an important part of children’s lives. Gaming is not only one of their favorite pastime activities, but games are also increasingly used by marketers in an attempt to influence children’s purchase behavior. Today, almost every food and beverage brand targeting children has an advergame on its website. Advergames are “computer games specifically created to function as advertisements to promote brands”, containing brand identifiers such as logos and brand characters (Kretchmer, 2005: 7). Games can also be powerful learning tools. Several authors (e.g., Gee, 2003; Prensky, 2001) argue that computer games can be more enjoyable, more interesting and thus more effective than traditional learning modes to increase children’s knowledge. Empirical studies that evaluated the impact of the use of games within disciplines such as mathematics, science, language, geography and computer science show positive outcomes in terms of learning effectiveness in relation to curricular objectives (e.g., Papastergiou, 2009; Rosas et al., 2003). However, these authors mainly focus on the learning ability of games rather than their persuasive impact for social marketing purposes. In the area of health education, playing computer games has often been seen with skepticism (e.g., Bale, 1994; Funk and Buchman, 1995).

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