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IAB PlayFronts 2023 Recap

March 22, 2023

7 minute read

Jonathan Stringfield and Kelly Drake present on the nature of premium games at IAB PlayFronts 2023

On March 8 and 9, 2023, gaming and advertising leaders convened for the second annual IAB Playfronts – a marketplace dedicated to advertising and partnership opportunities in the gaming industry. The event, now spanning two days, showcased presentations highlighting industry trends, consumer insights, and creative opportunities for brands to create meaningful and innovative ad experiences within the gaming channel. 

From mobile gaming and the metaverse to Roblox and ‘the attention economy,’ the diversity of perspectives encountered only underscored the importance of gaming and the various entry points into the ecosystem that have emerged. Jonathan Stringfield, VP Global Business Marketing & Research at Activision Blizzard Media presented alongside Kelly Drake, Senior Director, US Sales, Activision Blizzard Media, sharing new proprietary research focused on the nature of premium gaming experiences. Their presentation highlighted the impact and perception of quality gameplay experiences, focusing on what premium advertising experiences look like within established game titles and franchises, and why context is important for both brands and players.

Kelly Drake presenting.

Kelly Drake presenting Activision Blizzard Media's latest research and solutions.

“We need to think hard about the types of [gaming] content that individuals are consuming and understand that the types of games that they come [back] to time and time again are the ones that provide the most rewarding experiences, and the best gameplay experiences possible. AAA, high premium titles, things that are household names like Call of Duty or Candy Crush. People tend to keep coming back to these games, because they know they will provide a consistent experience and something they know will fulfill the needs they are looking for when they go to games.” shared Jonathan Stringfield when setting the stage for the makings of a premium game experience.

During the presentation, Kelly honed in on the success and opportunity within playable ad formats, citing a recent campaign for Prada Candy as a show stopping example of the power of interactive advertising.

“This past holiday season we partnered with L’Oreal and its Prada Candy fragrance to bring a  fun minigame experience to Prada Candy players and consumers, leveraging our Candy [Crush] IP for the first time ever. We partnered really closely with our game studio and Prada Candy to make sure this was done in an authentic way that brought both brands together in the right way.” 

The takeaway? What elevates established gaming franchises and much-loved titles over others is the premium nature of the gameplay experience, from high quality audio and visuals to compelling storytelling to carefully crafted game mechanics. For an advertising experience to be welcome and effective, it requires the same level of quality, attention, and details so that it remains authentic to the game environment. 

A wide angle photo of the IAB PlayFronts presentation room with Jonathan Stringfield and Kelley Drake on stage.

Jonathan Stringfield and Kelly Drake connect with fellow experts at IAB PlayFronts 2023 in NYC.

For more information about Activision Blizzard Media’s in-game ad experiences, click here or contact ads@activisionblizzardmedia.com to set an appointment to learn more.

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