“Is it an ad or is it a game?”
That has been a question since the first advergames (commercial messages embedded in a game format) appeared online. It’s critical, because children don’t distinguish between ads and game content.
Commercial breaks on TV are distinct; ad content in online games can be so subtle, that the lines between a commercial and a game are blurred.
At the top the McDonald’s site, HappyMeal.com, a brief line of type reads, “Hey kids, this is advertising!” But even I looked away from that tiny typeface toward the milk mustache maker.
The Federal Trade Commission still doesn’t regulate advertising to kids on new tech platforms, but isn’t it about time?