signs ad deals with BT and Unilever, the website offering free computer games in return for strategically placed ads, has signed up two big advertisers and announced 600,000 registered users.

Unilever’s deodorant brand, Physiosport, can now be seen on the virtual advertising hoardings of Viva Football, a game which retails for more than £30 on the high street. Freeloader users are able to download the game for free in return for answering a number of personal profile questions.

In a separate development, BTinternet has signed up as an in-game advertiser of 3-D game “Mission to Mars”. Like Viva Football, the advertising can be viewed by players while they are offline as well as on the Internet.

BTinternet sponsorship marketing manager Sophie Gawel says: “’s games appeal specifically to the 18 to 35 age group. This partnership reinforces our ability to reach this key audience. Not only is advertising within the Mission to Mars game an excellent way for us to spread our message, but using this advertising technique is a first-rate tool for building brand awareness.”

Bob Dewar, chief executive of Pure Entertainment, the parent company of, says: “For some time, advertisers have been taking advantage of our targeted banner advertising technology. We are very happy that brands are now beginning to see that in-game targeted advertising and sponsorship are great tools to target their audience and establish their brands in a particular target market.”

He claims in-game advertising on Freeloader “guarantees” delivery to a “clearly defined” target group of ABC1, 18to 35-year-old males.

Dewar adds: “The result for our advertising clients is that the user perceives the game he is playing as being brought to them by the advertiser. The brand is forming an amiable association with its target audience, fulfilling the objectives of traditional sponsorship.” has been operating for almost a year in the UK, where it has more than 250,000 registered users, and for several months in France, Germany and the US.

Freeloader advertisers include Gateway,, Breathe, Tango, Sure and Standard Life.

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