Advergames: Fun Is Not Enough

File this in the “science confirms common sense” folder — although this may be a surprise to many ad agencies.

University of Missouri researchers found that advergames that have a thematic connection to the brand work better to create a relationship with the consumer.

In the study, participants played two advergames, both with either high or low thematic connection to the brand. … For example, the travel company Orbitz designed a game, “Find Your Hotel,” that has a theme related to the company’s travel services. Another Orbitz game, “Paper Football,” does not have a thematic connection to the company’s services.

How Advertising Works Our Nerves (In a Good Way)

At last, neuroscience is applying itself to understanding how that extremely artificial endeavor — advertising — engages our basic biological instincts.

Two pieces of science news will interest marketers. First, the more we can anthropomorphize products, the better we like them. Second, advertising can take the place of real memory in our beliefs about a product.

It seems that dancing raisins, talking cars and the Geico gekko — but probably not subservient chickens — can actually change consumers’ perceptions and attitudes, according to Pankaj Aggarwal (University of Toronto) and Ann L. McGill (University of Chicago).

This Science Daily story says that we’re more likely to positively evaluate an anthropomorphized item.

If Twitter and Yahoo Answers Mated You’d Get Attendi

SEM is so powerful, so successful, that there’s a relentless quest to find the “next search.” Attendi, a startup that launched today at the Demo conference, applies search to instant messaging conversations.

To join Attendi, you create a profile that can include blogs, keywords, favorite web sites and your social networks; the idea is to position yourself as an expert on whatever you want — cooking, motorcycles, SEM. Automatically generated tag clouds attached to profiles show what else you’re up to speed on.

Other people can come to the site and search for experts who are logged in, then request a chat. Your profile is rated as more relevant to a topic, the more people chat with you. In addition, Attendi indexes all the chats and makes them searchable. So, even if someone isn’t online, you can read what they said to someone else.

Will Google Buy Earthlink?

Earthlink says it wants to get out of the municipal WiFi business. Are executives really grooming the company to be sold?

CEO Rolla Huff joined in June, and he recently brought on Joe Wetzel as COO. Huff and Wetzel are the team that sold Mpower Communications, a regional provider of broadband data and voice services to business customers. Maybe they’ll shop the company around as soon as they cut the fat.

There might be one very easy mark: Google.

A combined company — call it GoogleLink, just for fun — could help the search giant extend its advertising into the mobile space with less muss and fuss than trying to build such a service from the ground up.

Yesterday, rumors abounded that the search giant was planning gPhone, its own mobile data/phone device.