From yesterday's Reveries, a great article on how interaction and experience via gaming sells products:
The game, called "Jeep 4x4: Trail of Life," was free, and it was designed to give users a sense of the difference between a Rubicon Jeep and a regular Jeep by replicating "the vehicle's axle ratios and horsepower torque."
...All told, some "250,000 consumers ... downloaded it and handed over their names and e-mail addresses." The carmaker estimates "that about 500 of the first 1,500 people who purchased the Jeep Rubicon had piloted a virtual Jeep prior to walking into the dealership." Now, they don't know for sure that the games directly triggered the sales, but it sure looked that way. "It takes about 40 hours of playing to complete some popular adventure games," and since "ads are built into the games, consumers can't dodge them." The games also have the ability to demonstrate the product.
A game involving Sony Ericsson, for example, not only requires players to use a one of its cellphones, but also to capture an image using its T637 camera phone. The Army, meanwhile is using a virtual boot camp to attract new recruits.
Some "42 million U.S. households own a videogame console, according to DFC Intelligence. And, in perhaps the surest sign of advergaming's looming legitimacy, videogame publisher Activision, www.activision.com, is collaborating with Nielsen Entertainment "to build a system that will provide information about videogames akin to TV ratings."