Novartis' Advergame "Zone Quest"

March 2, 2006

"Zone Quest" is an online advergame that was launched by Novartis Pharmaceuticals at the end of December 2005. In order to remain competitive and stand out among the leaders in advertising innovation, Novartis had to adapt to the changing media environment by engaging consumers outside of television, while at the same time enhancing their television advertisements. Involvement in new media platforms by their competitors is coming in fits and starts, and according to several reports on advertising trends, is on a trajectory to become widespread in the next several years. They are being challenged as an industry to steer a new direction for DTC advertising and bring DTC advertising back to its roots-to educate consumers about their healthcare options.

This advergame was actively promoted through mid-February 2006. Novartis will tabulate and analyze final performance metrics to determine its level of success in delivering against objectives.

The development and execution of "Zone Quest", as well as preliminary results was shared.

Novartis considered other forms of technology to reach its target, including cell phones and blogs, and concluded that advergaming is best for its blood pressure product. Games not only dominate online time, but they also penetrate each segment. Younger demographics tend to play via consoles, but all ages play online games.

The online game "Zone Quest" was designed as a simple and fun way to reinforce the importance of making healthy lifestyle choices to keep blood pressure "in the zone" while promoting the Novartis BP Success Zone program. The campaign targeted adults age 45+ suffering from hypertension.

Objectives for advergaming:

  • Break through clutter
  • Generate brand awareness
  • Spark viral marketing
  • Build avid community
  • Educate consumers about product
  • Increase intent to purchase
  • Facilitate CRM data collection
  • Generate sales leads
  • Drive sales volume
  • Generate buzz for brand
  • Track sales by zip code

Budget required to achieve level of success in meeting objectives

  • $500K for development, research, and testing phases. WildTangent was the company used to support the game.


Early results (1st month) show a range of .35%-4.0% CTR on rich media ads, with 13,800 unique players spending average of 20 minutes per game, and half playing more than one game. Initial brand study data indicates metrics related to the BPSZ program and the BPSZ website have a positive impact with exposed respondents.


  • Work with an industry leader so you don't produce a game that disappoints your audience in both gaming strategy and user functionality.
  • Develop a marketing plan to promote your advergame whenever and wherever possible throughout the year.
  • Custom built games take 6-9 months to develop.

"Novartis' Advergame 'Zone Quest'." Sue Zibelli, Manager, Media Services, Agency Relations & Operations, Novartis. ANA New Technologies Committee, 03/02/06