I don't want to be totally cranky about advergaming (after all -- I think there's potential for people to create interesting/fun/non-crappy games that also have some form of advertising in them), but I am. The cause for my mood? This new game for Sensodyne Iso-Active toothpaste - Foam Snake Frenzy -- which is basically a rehash of the classic game, Snake. It's not terrible, but not very compelling either. In fact, "meh," is the word that springs to mind.
To play, use the arrow keys to direct your Sensodyne Foam Snake (um, yeah) to gobble up at least 20 food items so you can exit the room. Be sure not to cross your own stream or you'll have to start over again. I guess this is all one big metaphor for how this foam toothpaste will wipe your breath/teeth clean of things like (see pic above) broccoli, hamburgers and what looks like an entire ham. Once you clear the first level, the 'Dinner Party' level, then you'll move onto do more of the same in the 'Movie Date' level and so forth.
To get philosophical about advergames for a moment -- I suppose ad-based games mostly rank as 'meh' because they don't have to be great (or even good) to serve their purpose. If a game like this gets someone to spend at least five minutes playing, that is a helluva lot longer then they would probably spend looking at an ad on a web page or a commercial on TV.
Then again, just imagine how much time players would spend with a really great game -- 30 minutes, 60 minutes, maybe more? I know a lot of ad types who would give their eyeteeth for that kind of long-term engagement with their brand. So, my challenge to you, advergame makers, dare to make a game that's good (it doesn't even have to be great) -- just to see what happens.