Online marketing as entertainment

Those who want to generate permanent traffic with web games usually have to dig deep into their pockets

If you want to generate lasting traffic with web games, you usually have to dig deep into your pocketsBy Clemens Hörler Web games have also developed into a popular marketing tool in Switzerland. They are designed to give Internet users access to a brand or a company in a fun way.
Today, if you want to encourage consumers to visit your website repeatedly, you have to offer more than a static company brochure. Because such a brochure is about as sexy as white tennis socks with sweaty edges.
"In addition to information, interactive elements and entertainment are of central importance for a website that is intended to invite repeat visits," says Roland Bernhard, Director of Communications at Coca-Cola Switzerland. At, visitors can currently pass the time with two games.
As is well known, small can also be fine
But it's not just big brands that offer their visitors fun in the form of games: Maeder Fleisch, Basel, for example, has launched an online memory with farm motifs; users will soon be able to shear a virtual sheep. "Online games don't have to be huge, it's enough if they provide users with a little fun in between," says Francis de Andrade, co-founder of the Basel-based company Businessgames.
Online games are primarily intended to bring more traffic to the website and visitors into contact with the brand. If you combine the games with a competition, you can also win customer data or e-mail addresses. Games where the achieved score is measured and published additionally motivate players to visit the site again and again. Otherwise, games that are always the same can quickly lead to signs of fatigue.
Online Tamagochi: virtual piggy bank feeding
The ZKB and Swiss Milk Producers have chosen a different way to repeatedly lure players to their websites: On, which was realized by FutureCom on behalf of ZKB, you can breed a virtual pig since April 12 and until the end of June. In order for the pigs to do really well and for the "breeders" to win a cell phone or a savings account with 200 francs, they have to regularly play with their pig, go to the movies and buy it clothes.
The ZKB also collects
e-mail addresses and data about players. According to Andreas Hauri, Head of Campaign Management at ZKB's Private Clients business unit, Zoink is the start of an online youth platform in the banking sector. At the halfway point of the game, 8,000 mainly young players had registered.
A four-digit number of internauts are preparing their cow for a trip to Mars on the website of the Swiss milk producers This game by the company Beaulieu Software Sàrl also works on the Tamagochi principle and runs until June 30. However, such lengthy games carry the risk that the cattle will die virtually. Even weekly e-mails asking users to take care of their animals are usually pointless. (Where is animal welfare on the Internet?)
The online game fun is not quite cheap
Simple Flash or Shockwave games are already available for a few thousand francs. For a complex game, however, you have to shell out up to several hundred thousand francs. And the demands of Internet users are becoming ever higher. "Users compare Swiss sites with the international offerings," Bernhard points out. "But we often don't have the resources that are available in the giant U.S. market, for example."
At least as important as special effects are an original idea and a reference to the brand. In most online games, the brand is more or less discreetly visible in the background. For example, the virtual ice hockey players on dash across a playing field with a beer brewer's perimeter advertising, and the Zoink piggy goes to the movies cheaper thanks to ZKB. "The product may and should appear in the game, but the player must not get the feeling that he is watching a commercial," emphasizes Antoine Schaub, co-founder of Businessgames.
The manufacturer

Most large web agencies are capable of producing online games. However, the increased demand has also brought specialists onto the scene, such as the Zurich-based new media agency Cultimedia (www.cultimedia .ch) or Businessgames in Basel (, which was founded a few weeks ago.

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