In-game advertising has now begun in Australia with Sensis‘ digital media business, MediaSmart, sealing a major deal with Victoria’s Transport Accident Commission (TAC) to make targeted advertising available within PlayStation 3 games.

Sensis’ general manager of digital marketing services, Thomas Arthur, indicates TAC’s deal signalled in-game advertising had become an important part of today’s digital advertising mix.

“Our exclusive in-game network, which now includes the popular PlayStation 3 titles, will allow TAC to communicate their message cost-effectively to the male youth market,” Arthur says.

“Worldwide video game revenue is expected to reach US$46 billion in 2009. This is testament to the medium being an extremely effective way to reach traditionally hard to target segments. We expect other Australian blue chip organisations to follow TAC’s lead in adopting in-game advertising as an integral part of their advertising mix.”

TAC’s senior manager of marketing John Thompson believes the organisation’s messages about drink driving, speeding and motorcycles would appear while gamers were playing.

“30% of those killed on Victorian roads in 2008 were aged between 18 and 29 years. However, this demographic has proven difficult to reach in the modern fragmented marketplace,” says Thompson.

According to recent Roy Morgan data, about half of males aged between 18 and 34 have played a computer games at home in the last three months.

TAC’s campaign will run across MediaSmart’s action, racing and sport in-game verticals from January to June 2009. TAC’s advertisements will feature exclusively on the NFL, NBA and Tiger Woods PGA Tour PlayStation 3 games, as well as the cult racing video game Need for Speed.

MediaSmart has an exclusive Australian partnership to represent in-game advertising network, IGA Worldwide, which has recently been extended to include several major Electronic Arts titles on PlayStation 3.

Marketing has been following the trend of in-game advertising closely. Recently we reported on the growth of the emerging media sector, which has generally been popular overseas – it may take a little while before it becomes a regular part of a campaign in Australia.