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Abstract

Research on purchase intention had showed remarkable progress in contributing to the theory of consumer behavior. Despite the popularity of academic discussions on various issues influencing purchase intention, the mediating role of brand recall and brand attitude on purchase intention, in particular advergames, has not yet been well explored, especially in developing economies such as Malaysia. Furthermore, the influence of self-brand congruity, entertainment and brand placement acceptance as antecedents to brand recall and brand attitude are expected to add value to the brand recall, brand attitude and purchase intention relationships. This paper aims to investigate the impact of the mediating role of brand recall and brand attitude on purchase intention in advergames among Malaysian gamers. The antecedents towards brand recall and brand attitude are also examined to measure their influence on purchase intention. A total of 350 Malaysian gamers were interviewed through online survey in this study. The results showed that brand recall and brand attitude mediate the relationship between self-brand congruity, entertainment and brand placement acceptance with purchase intention. Also, entertainment and brand placement acceptance were found to have a significant relationship with brand recall. As expected, brand recall and brand attitude showed a positive relationship with consumer purchase intention in advergames. It was found that self-brand congruity has a significant influence on brand attitude and purchase intention. When users see the brand which matches with them, they tend to act positively toward the brand exposed in the game. This is consistent with Escalas and Bettman (2005) who suggested that the greater the congruity, the more positive the consumer`s attitude toward the brand in question. This leads to game usage and purchase (Davis and Lang, 2013). In the advergaming context, the entertainment value in advergames is very important to determine the level of enjoyment and pleasure experienced by gamers during game-playing. Therefore, the more entertaining the ads, the more it will be remembered and the greater the positive behavior of the consumer towards the advergames ? this ultimately stimulates their intention to purchase the brand. This study shows the effect of brand placement on brand recall and brand attitude and also purchase intention. Brand placements might not work in games due to the interactivity involved in game-playing as people could be distracted from noticing the brand placements (Yang et al., 2006). However, the significant influence of brand placements found in this study may provide major promise for advertisers. Game players may or may not explicitly remember the brands they see in the games, but these placements may influence their brand recall and brand attitude and could therefore influence later decisions (Yang et al., 2006). In this study, it was found that self-brand congruity was not significantly related with brand recall. The reason for this could be attributed to the fact that this study examined gamers who are highly involved in the interactive medium of games which force them to focus on game play rather than advertisements; the level of recognition to remember the brand exposed in the game is low and contributes to the “mismatch” between the gamers and the said brand. The present study contributes to the existing literature of the antecedents of brand recall and brand attitude in advergames. This study contributes to the role of brand recall and brand attitude as mediators in purchase behavior theory. Academically, the relationship between brand recall and brand attitude is well known in advergaming research, but their impact as important mediators on purchase intention add new understanding in the interactive communication literature. Their mediating role may provide new insights on how they facilitate the effects of self-brand congruity, entertainment and brand placement on purchase intention. Besides that, the studies on the influence of self-brand congruity on brand recall and brand attitude and also consumer intention to purchase had not well-investigated in advergames. This study contributes to fill those gaps in advergames literature. For practitioners, this study could suggest the use of illustrative or demonstrative placements of new products to help customers remember new brands, and the use of associative placements for existing products to increase consumers` purchase intention (Ho et al., 2011). To advertisers, this study may provide useful information to improve their current advertising strategies in games, for instance, by considering game players` congruity, entertainment value and brand placement factors.

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