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Gamifying your Brand for Engagement


By Melissa Marie Fassetta, Account Manager at Incubeta Joystick

If you find yourself wondering how to market your brand in today’s rapidly changing climate, you’re in good company. A number of marketers are reevaluating how it should advertise — where and how its messages should show up.

This is for good reason. It’s difficult to strike the right tone. It’s tough to know how to speak to a quarantined audience whose mindset might be very different and might change drastically from one day to the next. In this day and age, getting it right takes on new meaning.

Well here’s a thought. How about taking another look at gamification?

Gaming is on an upswing, people are looking for ways to spend their time (or escape). Online game usage is up 75% according to Verizon. By their very nature, games foster positivity during uncertain times and provides a sense of normalcy in a time of social distancing.

Now’s the time to revisit a gamification strategy for your brand. Brands have been successfully using games in their ads to create engagement while keeping their brand top of mind. We’ve seen some great applications of this (and created some too!)

So what’s the right approach for your brand? Games that tend to work well in an ad are what we call casual games. These have lightweight gameplay mechanics that are fun, simple and easy to understand in 5 seconds. Games with universal appeal and well-known elements that require little explanation are best. Familiar gameplay with simple user interface and a productized twist works well on mobile devices.

Consider gameplay that lends itself to your brand and messaging. If your brand has an icon or brand character that can be featured, even better. Also think about the demographic of your target audience. While the gender split for gaming is pretty equal with women accounting for 46% of all gamers, many games skew young or old, male or female.

To give you some great examples, here are our top ten picks for uses of gameplay in an ad


Highly addictive, catching games are where your brand icon or character moves back and forth across a single axis to catch falling items. The user has to catch as many as they can before the time runs out.


Who doesn’t remember this game of memory where the user finds the matching items. They have to remember the placement of the matching card in order to win. This can be a fun way to feature your brand’s characters, products or food items.


Finding your way through the maze is always fun and can be used for all kinds of verticals or products. This can also be done as a maze chase game, Pac-Man style, with bonus items and be collected (or eaten) to keep things interesting.


The running game is a retro side-scrolling mechanic where the player collects rewards and avoids obstacles along a set path by jumping. Also can be done as a flying game if that’s more in-line with your brand.


Quizzes can be entertaining and educational at the same time. It also can offer immediate gratification for correct answers (the more animated, the better). Use it to communicate fun (or unusual) facts about the brand or other information.


Breakout-style or “bat-and-ball” games have a wall of blocks or similar objects that the player chips away at with the ball as part of the main gameplay. You could reverse it up, Tetris-style, for the ultimate puzzle game. Or add a your brand as the opponent in a volleying table tennis style game is always a favorite.


The key to this spin the wheel game is a randomized spin mechanic. Made popular by the game show Wheel of Fortune, it can be used for anything from trivia, facts, and other brand information.


Players race to be the first to the top. They will find ladders to help them advance, and chutes or slides which will cause them to move backward.


A single player racing game where the user can tap to gain speed in order to beat their virtual competitor. First to the finish line wins.


Frogger-style gameplay where the player must navigate the character between opposing lanes of traffic to get to the other side of road without becoming roadkill. Getting to the other side scores points and advances to the next, more difficult level.

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