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Testing the Mere Exposure Effect in Videogaming

Gledhill, M (2019) Testing the Mere Exposure Effect in Videogaming. Doctoral thesis (PhD), Manchester Metropolitan University.

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Abstract

Due to proliferation of media and platforms it is becoming increasingly difficult for marketers to reach and engage consumers using traditional forms of mass media such as advertising. Marketers are turning to alternate forms of communication, such as brand placement in videogames as the games industry continues to grow. To date academic research appears inconclusive in terms of validating the use of videogames as a promotional tool. Moreover, there is a lack of empirical evidence concerning the effects on consumers and brands of marketing messages in the videogame environment. This aim of this study was to investigate whether exposure to brand placement affects unknown brand likeability as a result of mere exposure for game players and game watchers in videogames. The study adopted a quasi-experiment between group design, with a Control, Watch Group and Play Group (300 participants in total) and a post exposure questionnaire. Results suggest some support a mere exposure effect which is that a frequently presented brand placement in a videogame can have a positive effect on players and watchers’ brand attitudes, although they do not recall the brand. This is the first empirical study to investigate brand placement and mere exposure effects in videogames. Theoretically, the study contributes to knowledge concerning brand placement processing in videogames and builds on the existing paradigms of MEE, low-involvement processing, implicit and explicit processing and brand attitude formation. For game developers and brand owners, the study has implications for marketing communications strategy, and graphic design elements for the placements, design of videogames and the most effective position for placements in a game.

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