Advergames as a developmental challenge to children's processing of persuasive messages

Jessica Marie Williams, Fordham University


The goal of this study was to examine whether developmental level, digital game-playing experience, and the interactive nature of advergames influenced children's understanding and attitudes towards advertising and how that understanding might affect children's susceptibility to advertising effects. Fourth through sixth grade participants (Ages 8–12) were grouped in same-grade, sex, and gameplay experience dyads, with one participant playing the advergame and the other watching it. After gameplay, both participants were asked to respond to survey questions assessing their advertising literacy levels (as evidenced by the Children's Advertising Literacy Scale) and their advertising effects levels (as evidenced by brand and source recognition, brand preference, and purchase requests). The results of a multivariate analysis of variance indicated that older children showed higher levels of attitudinal advertising literacy and experienced less advertising effects from exposure to the persuasive content in the advergame. The results of a multiple regression also indicated that participants' advertising literacy levels predicted the extent to which they were influenced by advertising effects. Additionally, substantial changes in participant ranking of the featured brand before and after gameplay were seen for all participant groups, independent of grade or player status (player vs. viewer). Correlation analyses revealed that players who performed better on the advergame showed higher levels of brand recall and experienced lower levels of advertising effects.

Subject Area

Educational psychology|Developmental psychology|Mass communications

Recommended Citation

Williams, Jessica Marie, "Advergames as a developmental challenge to children's processing of persuasive messages" (2015). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3683470.