Advergaming and healthy eating involvement: How healthy eating inclinations impact processing of advergame content

Vincent Cicchirillo, Amanda Mabry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to understand how healthy eating involvement (HEI) impacts the evaluations of branded food advergames. Design/methodology/approach – This paper invokes the elaboration likelihood model and reactance theory to explain the effects of different levels of brand integration within a food advergame on individuals with different reported levels of HEI. Undergraduate students were assigned (non-random) to play one of three different advergames with varying levels of brand integration. Furthermore, participant’s health involvement was measured and incorporated as a moderating variable on brand and advergame attitudes. Regression analyses were used to analyze the data. Findings – The results showed significant interaction effects between HEI levels and level of brand advergame integration. Individuals with higher levels of HEI showed more negative attitudes toward the brand and game when integration was high. However, lower levels of brand advergame integration resulted in positive effects among lower HEI individuals. Research limitations/implications – Limitations of this research are that gamer experience was not measured prior to game play. Also, that no control of advergame playing time was conducted. However, a manipulation check was conducted. Future research should examine the impact of healthy advergames on individual’s reactions and information processing. Practical implications – Editors and creators of advergames must be more aware of the impact that branded items have within a gaming situation. Individuals may not always positively evaluate the brand integrated within a fun online environment. Furthermore, better consumer targeting will likely lead to higher message acceptance based upon individuals levels of self-congruency with that message. Originality/value – This study provides needed examination of contextual and individual level variables in responses to advergaming content.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)587-603
Number of pages17
JournalInternet Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 6 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Advergaming
  • Brand attitudes
  • Health involvement
  • Information processing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Economics and Econometrics


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