Google's Niantic Labs, the developers behind the wildly popular Ingress augmented reality game, partnered with AXA Insurance to prove just how powerful advertising can be in a virtual world. The two companies worked together, adding real world AXA retail agencies into Ingress' in-game portals, to let players visit without leaving the game. The results were better than expected, as the partnership was able to expose over four million players to the AXA brands, and 600,000 of the players actually went and visited the physical locations.

This shows that there are more ways to advertise effectively than to just plaster ads in the users face, which is ultimately a positive thing.

Press release:

Google's Ingress and AXA Redefine Mobile Game Advertising With Campaign Bridging Real and Virtual Worlds

Today, Google's Niantic Labs and AXA Insurance have revealed engagement statistics behind an innovative advertising and brand integration partnership. The two companies joined forces, designing and implementing a unique virtual to real-world brand engagement campaign within Niantic Labs' augmented reality mobile adventure game, Ingress, ultimately connecting more than 4 million people with the AXA brand over 150 days.

In an effort to reach the digitally-connected generation, AXA partnered with Niantic Labs to turn AXA retail agencies in the real world into Ingress "Portals," which are sites that players visit and battle to control for their in-game faction. In just five months, the success of the partnership saw over 600,000 Ingress players visit AXA Insurance locations to find, collect and deploy more than 5 million AXA Shields, unique and powerful branded virtual items.

A video showcasing the integration and engagement numbers behind Niantic Labs new advertising model for mobile games and the deep collaborative partnership with AXA can be viewed here:

The Ingress/AXA engagement video can also be viewed on YouTube here:

In the last 5 months, the AXA/Ingress partnership generated the following results: - Over 4 million Ingress players were exposed to the AXA brand promise - Over 600,000 Ingress players visited AXA agencies in real life - AXA agencies generated over 3 million in-game actions in Ingress - Over 5 million AXA Shields were deployed in Ingress - AXA representatives interacted with over 55,000 Ingress players during live player events called "Anomalies"

The partnership also extended into the in-game fiction where, with AXA Insurance creating a trailer showcasing the unique in-game narrative created to highlight the power and importance of the AXA Shield. The trailer relates the impossible love story between "Romeo76" and "Juliet83," two Ingress rivals. In their everlasting clash, the only way to protect each other may be the AXA Shield.