WildTangent, 24/7 Real Media to Serve In-Game Ads

Game publisher WildTangent is expected to announce a partnership today with 24/7 Real Media to serve ads dynamically into its downloadable games. The first game featuring the technology, “Snowboard Super Jam,” puts Jeep and Oakley in the game, both as sponsors and as advertisers.

WildTangent will use 24/7’s Open Ad Stream Central ad management system to both serve the ads and to track the number and duration of impressions each ad generates. The ads appear on the free demonstration versions of the company’s downloadable retail games, as well as on the fully registered versions, which cost $19.99 on average. Last year, 12.3 million unique users downloaded the company’s games.

“Unless someone buys that game, there’s no money changing hands,” Dave Madden, EVP sales, marketing and business development at WildTangent, told ClickZ News. Many younger gamers have no access to credit cards, he added.

In the initial “Snowboard” game, the Jeep and Oakley brands are integrated into gameplay. The snowboarder wears Oakley goggles, for example, and whooshes past Jeep Wranglers. Billboards on the track feature the brands, and can be served with other ads.

Madden says the opportunity for advertisers is quicker turnaround and more flexibility than what makers of more complex, expensive packaged games bring to the market. “It’s the least sophisticated, but most immediate opportunity in terms of what a media department can do,” he noted.

Jeep plans to extend the opportunity by offering Web site registrants a chance to win one of 500 “Snowboard Super Jam” units. “Casting the Jeep brand and Wrangler vehicle into a virtual snowboarding game complements our existing marketing activities at real-world snowboarding events,” said Jeff Bell, Jeep VP, in a statement.

In addition to in-game ads, a number of standard Interactive Advertising Bureau ad units will be available across WildTangent’s wildgames.com Web site and partner sites. Downloaded games will launch with an ad “wrapper,” an HTML leaderboard banner that will display before and after a game demo session. Advertisers can target game wrappers by title or genre.

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