Coming out of SXSWi, the trending topic was "gamification," applying game mechanics to a variety of online activities that are not originally game-based. Gamification or "funware" is often used to drive adoption and acquisition in non-game platforms. To be clear, this isn't actually gaming, like say playing Farmville, its applying the aspects of competition and gaming to everday life activities like buying things, trying new things, etc. FourSquare is the ultimate gamification platform of course in that you "check-in" and receive a badge (reward) and sometimes an offer for doing stuff (which can lead to acquiring new customers, users, etc.). The typical elements you will see in a gamification campaign include leader boards, badges, achievement levels, social capital and virtual currency, and challenges that pit users against each other (increasingly shared in social applications like Facebook). And gamification is already everywhere in our personal lives--if you belong to a price club or airline loyalty program, you're already competing for rewards and achievements to unlock more value--and companies are benefiting from increased loyalty, involvement and even advocacy from you.
Came across a couple of good brand campaigns recently that I thought I would share. The first is for brand Cheez-It. "Choose the Cheese" on Facebook invites users to choose between three new Cheez-It flavors, after "liking" the brand (the acquisition strategy), you can vote, and then get access to badge, leaderboard by state, and entertaining digital videos.
An interactive map shows how individual states are voting for their favorite flavor. Asiago (my favorite) is ahead!
The game isn't exactly revolutionary or draw-dropping in its creativity, but its fun, simple and does the job of creating new fans and testimonials (FB posts). The drawback to the campaign, is that its locked-up in FB, behind a wall that means sharing will be limited. The challenge to FB campaigns is getting the testimony and involvement to spread elsewhere. Sure 500 million users is a good place to play, but one has to ask--where else is "snacking" being discussed or "cheese". The next iteration of campaigns like these will make the enagement more relevant, accessible and contextual, in syndicated content on relevant foodie sites or online grocery sites, etc., tying "playing" with snacking and purchase. And though FB is working on e-Commerce and fulfillment, we're a ways away from people buying through FB. Cheez-It did supply free samples--but they were all gone by the time I played. There ends my engagement.
The new campaign for Lynx, "Fallen Angel" through a FB app, introduces fans to a fallen angel named "Kelly", where after "liking" the brand, we learn that all the angels in heaven (beautiful women) have fallen to earth and your job is to become "the one" who draws the final angel down. In an interactive video that draws from your FB photos in your social graph, the contestant is exposed to a series of tests to determine if you & the scent will do the job and inserted directly into the content.
Yes that's me in Kelly's "dreams (and you could be too if you allow Lynx access to your graph).
Of course the cheesy "tests" get more risque and increasingly NSFW by the time you conclude the game. The key thing here is that Axe/Lynx has always sex to sell and applying the same to a social game is a good move--I'm just wondering how many guys will share it as the whole campaign can probably be a bit embarrassing to get caught watching. ; )
Either way--these campaigns demonstrate that you have to do more than just talk in your branded social networks. While they may be part of your "always-on" strategy, its important to program the channel with periodic content and activity tied to the larger advertising campaign. The possibilities for interactivity are unlimited. Engagement in the program can be greatly increased by well, "sex" and barring that, crowd-sourced activities.
What Facebook App campaigns have you come across lately that stick out and why were they successful? Drop a note in the comments.