Condition category
Nutritional, Metabolic, Endocrine
Date applied
Date assigned
Last edited
Retrospectively registered
Overall trial status
Recruitment status
No longer recruiting
Publication status

Plain English Summary

Background and study aims
Previous studies have looked at the effects of television advertising on children’s food intake. However, we need to measure the effects of non-traditional forms of marketing on children’s behavior. An advergame is a video game that contains an advertisement for a product, service, or company. The aim of this study is to find out whether playing advergames promoting high-calorie snacks or fruit affect food intake among children.

Who can participate?
Children aged 8-10.

What does the study involve?
The children are randomly allocated to either play an advergame promoting high-calorie snacks, fruit, or toys, or to not play a game at all. The children’s intake of snacks and fruit is then measured. The children complete questionnaires and are weighed and measured.

What are the possible benefits and risks of participating?
There were no benefits or risks of participating.

Where is the study run from?
Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR), University of Amsterdam (Netherlands)

When is the study starting and how long is it expected to run for?
November 2011 to February 2012

Who is funding the study?
Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR), University of Amsterdam (Netherlands)

Who is the main contact?
Frans Folkvord

Trial website

Contact information



Primary contact

Mr Frans Folkvord


Contact details

Kloveniersburgwal 48
1012 CX

Additional identifiers

EudraCT number number

Protocol/serial number


Study information

Scientific title

The effect of playing advergames that promote energy-dense snacks or fruit on actual food intake among children: a randomised study


Study hypothesis

1. Children that play an advergame containing energy-dense snacks will eat more energy-dense snacks afterwards.
2. Children that play an advergame containing fruit will eat more fruit afterwards.

Ethics approval

Amsterdam School of Communication Research/ASCoR, 17/11/2011, ref: ASCoR-u-2011-03

Study design

Randomized between-subject design

Primary study design


Secondary study design

Randomised controlled trial

Trial setting


Trial type


Patient information sheet

Not available in web format, please use the contact details below to request a patient information sheet




The children were randomly assigned to 1 of 4 conditions, which involved playing
1.The energy-dense snacks advergame (i.e., promoting a popular candy brand and 8 different gummy and jelly sweets from this popular candy brand)
2. The fruit advergame (i.e., promoting a popular fruit brand and 8 different fruits, fruit drinks, or cups with fruit from this popular brand)
3. The nonfood advergame (i.e., promoting a popular Dutch toy brand and 8 individual toys from this popular toy brand); or
4. No game at all (control condition).

We randomized the conditions within schools and the conditions were counterbalanced to start with a different condition every day, so that none of the conditions were tested more in the morning or just before or after the break. The order of conditions was also counterbalanced to avoid any order effects. A professional game designer designed the advergames. All games were identical, except for the advertised brands and products. The game involved a memory game with 16 cards, whereby the brands appeared on the back of the cards, and the individual products (candy, fruit, or toys) appeared on the front of the cards. These products clearly displayed the brand logos. Furthermore, we showed the brand on the right side of the screen to enhance the awareness of the advertised brand. Similar to regular advergames, we integrated two specific features to immerse the children into the game. First, a digital timer appeared on the top-left of the screen, and a time bar appeared in the top center of the screen to exert time pressure on the children. Second, the game played an unpleasant sound when a child selected a false pair and a pleasant sound when a child selected a correct pair. All children were presented four bowls that contained four different food snacks. Two bowls contained energy-dense food snacks, (1) jelly candy (cola bottles) and (2) milk chocolate candy shells; and two bowls contained sliced fruit snacks, (3) bananas and (4) apples. Two bowls of test food, such as cola bottles and bananas, were identical to one of the food products shown in the advergame. In addition to these food snacks, we used other popular candy (milk chocolate candy shells) and fruit (apples) to test possible spill-over effects.

Intervention type



Drug names

Primary outcome measure

1. Kcal intake of fruit, energy dense snacks, and total. We preweighed the bowls that contained food and measured it again after the child left the room. We calculated kcal according to the amount they ate.

Secondary outcome measures

1. Hunger [Visual analogue scales (VAS scale)]: not hungry - very hungry
2. Age, gender

Overall trial start date


Overall trial end date


Reason abandoned (if study stopped)


Participant inclusion criteria

Children (girls and boys) between 8-10 years

Participant type

Healthy volunteer

Age group




Target number of participants


Participant exclusion criteria

1. Children younger than 8 years or older than 10 years
2. Children allergic to one of the test foods

Recruitment start date


Recruitment end date



Countries of recruitment


Trial participating centre

Kloveniersburgwal 48
1012 CX

Sponsor information


Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR) (Netherlands)

Sponsor details

Kloveniersburgwal 48
1012 CX

Sponsor type




Funder type


Funder name

Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR), University of Amsterdam (Netherlands)

Alternative name(s)

Funding Body Type

Funding Body Subtype


Results and Publications

Publication and dissemination plan

Not provided at time of registration

Intention to publish date

Participant level data

Not provided at time of registration

Basic results (scientific)

Publication list

2013 results in:
2016 results in:

Publication citations

  1. Results

    Folkvord F, Anschütz DJ, Buijzen M, Valkenburg PM, The effect of playing advergames that promote energy-dense snacks or fruit on actual food intake among children., Am. J. Clin. Nutr., 2013, 97, 2, 239-245, doi: 10.3945/ajcn.112.047126.

Additional files

Editorial Notes

08/08/2016: Publication reference added.