15 Min Read

Maximising Brand Activation Performance Through In-Game Product Placement

Discover how brands can maximize their in-game product placements through three core principles and enhance engagement without disrupting gameplay.

April 16, 2024

Maximising Brand Activation Performance Through In-Game Product Placement

Across several gaming metaverses, primarily Roblox and Fortnite, the number of organizations co-developing and launching ‘branded’ gaming activations is on the rise. Notably in the second half of 2023, press-releases showcasing these digital experiences became commonplace with multiple big-name brands (including Nike, Walmart, BMW, and Polysleep) releasing their own digital playground(s) highlighting their identity, story, and product line.

Despite the recent rise in this type of product placement, creating branded games isn’t a new phenomenon. As previously discussed in our previous article, there are several examples from the early 1990’s which showed great success as a marketing tool which brands were able to utilize and improve their image with the upcoming generation.

One question all brands will face when developing their custom activations will ultimately be, what message(s) to convey, and perhaps more importantly, where and how to place them. Done correctly, brands can integrate their content seamlessly into their experiences without disrupting gameplay and ultimately leave a positive impression on the player. Over 30 years, product placement has come a long way and brands are now able to maximize the return on investment required to develop their activation through three forms of in-game placement. For simplicity, we’ve named these primary, secondary, and tertiary products:

  • Primary products are items which a player is able to wear within the game (or other games within the same metaverse). They are continuously front and center within a game and, as a result, are always visible. 
  • Secondary products are items which a player is able to use. They are items a player is able to interact with and use within the game, giving the item heightened relevance and importance for a certain period of time within the game. 
  • Tertiary products are items a player is able to see. They may provide additional insight or guidance within the game and are visible at varying stages in the environment but have limited levels of interaction.

In December 2023, Liquid Death (a rebellious canned water brand) released their own custom Fortnite Game - “Murder Mountain” - designed to showcase their product and strengthen their brand identity. To demonstrate how brands can best integrate their products, we’ll use Murder Mountain as a case study for in-game product placement with real examples of each form of placement found within the game and the impact it has on gameplay and ultimately, player impressions.

Murder Mountain is a player-vs-player battle royal style of game within the Fortnite platform. Players are able to see multiple branded items across the environment as the game progresses and they explore the valley in which the battle takes place. As shown in figure 1, Murder Mountain offers several examples of each form of placement throughout the game, providing an excellent case study of how brands can maximize their activation performance, without sacrificing gameplay.

Figure 1 - A diagram showing the three types of in-game advertising and product placement brands can use to maximize their activation performance.

The main NPC character is a great example of the kind of ‘skin’ a Fortnite avatar could be equipped with to provide a branded primary product for players to use and interact with. The player would be able to view the protruding Liquid Death can at all times while playing the game and would additionally be able to use the skin in other non-branded Fortnite games.

To beat other players within the game, you are required to throw packs of Liquid Death water at them to “kill their thirst”. This is an out standing example of a secondary product placement with the canned water playing a pivotal role in the players overall survival and success. Players will actively search for more cans of Liquid Death throughout the environment making it a key focus point for set durations of the game.

Liquid Death branded billboards and trailers are found throughout the game, demonstrating the final form of product placement. Four main messages are conveyed on these billboards ranging from gameplay tips to direct, more traditional, marketing advertisements. Providing helpful tips as well as cover from enemies ensures relevance is maintained and creates some form of positive interaction, even if that interaction is for a limited time.

Overall Murder Mountain is a useful case study for brands looking to maximize their activation performance through product placement. However, to truly maximize their activation, brands should seek to break the fourth wall through adding scannable items with Valor. Having primary, secondary, and tertiary products placed throughout an activation that are directly linked to off-platform experiences and rewards creates a new dimension for players to connect and interact with brands which has not yet been adopted wholescale.

Heading 1

Heading 2

Heading 3

Heading 4

Heading 5
Heading 6

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur.

Woolen warfare image
Block quote

Ordered list

  1. Item 1
  2. Item 2
  3. Item 3

Unordered list

  • Item A
  • Item B
  • Item C

Text link

Bold text




Related Post

5 Min Read

Cool Spot: A Pioneer of In-Game Recognition and Rewards

Learn more about Cool Spot, the first ever example of in-game item recognition being linked with physical rewards.
3 Min Read

MVG Launches JOUST 2.0: A Fortnite Mini-Game Showcasing New Capabilities Available to Brands

Joust 2.0 is the latest Fortnite mini-game developed by MVG in collaboration with GCG. For brands wanting to get into gaming, you should start here.
MVG logo
Close Image

book a discovery call with mVG's lead creative and strategy director today!

Tick circle icon

Create a Customized Marketing Strategy Centred on Gaming

second tick circle icon

Discover the MVG_Ecosystem and Explore your Opportunities

Third tick circle icon

Expand Your Online Markets and IP with Tailored Guidance