The study revolved around advertising for Gatorade in EA's games NHL 09, NHL 10, NBA Live 07, NBA Live 08, NBA Live 09 and NBA Street Homecourt, which featured the sugar water brand on places including arena signs, water bottles and score updates.
Households under Nielsen's watchful eye--over 100,000 of them--who purchased at least one of the games apparently spent an average of 24% more on Gatorade products than those which did not, the study discovered. According to EA, this offered a return on investment of $3.11 per household.
"Nielsen's study is a milestone for interactive entertainment," EA's senior VP of global media sales, Elizabeth Harz, said in the announcement. "For the first time, advertisers are able to link the value of their in-game marketing or sponsorship to actual sales. Now brands can feel confident adding gaming as a core media channel for their advertising."
In 2008, one of Nielsen's earlier studies into in-game advertising concluded it increased "positive brand attribute association" while a large majority of video game players--82% of those tested--felt games were "just as enjoyable with ads as without."