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In-game ads work, study says

Nielsen finds that gamers remember brands they see in video games--especially when ads resemble real life.

You might not understand it at the time, but that big Coca-Cola sign that dances across the screen in your favorite video game is making it more likely you'll reach for a Coke next time you're thirsty.

A new study released on Monday found that in-game ad campaigns resulted in a 60 percent increase in awareness of new brands. The study, commissioned by in-game ad creators Double Fusion and carried out by Nielsen Interactive Entertainment, tested various forms of ads in the PC game "Metro3D."

And while the study reported some differences in the effectiveness of animated and static ads, Double Fusion's co-founder, Guy Bendov, said the results weren't what he had expected.

"The difference rate in recall levels between the billboards that show animation and the billboards that are static aren't that great," Bendov said. "We thought 3D elements would be more memorable, and we would see a greater difference between (them). What people did remember were trucks that had things on their side, just like in real life."

According to Double Fusion, 50 percent of study participants said they found that in-game ads make the experience more realistic, while just 21 percent disagreed. Similarly, 54 percent said in-game advertising "catches your attention." Just 17 percent disagreed, the company said.

Bendov said he hoped the results of the study would help Double Fusion and others in the in-game ads business get closer to creating industry standards. In particular, he said, the field needs to standardize on ad rates, given that there are no universally agreed upon rates today.

"It's a fairly nascent industry and there are no standards as of now," he said. "We feel that every strong and growing market should have standards."