Some of our favorites for 2013:
The Ad Bowl got gamified this year, as Coca-Cola's Coke Chase enabled viewers to help three "teams" vie for a giant bottle of coke. Television spots from Wieden & Kennedy, end with a cliffhanger - and that's where this social media game begins. Now, viewers can share the video and vote on one of a handful of endings, in hopes of supporting one of three factions - cowboys, showgirls and badlanders - as they race for that Coke. The more you share, the more content you unlock - including 50,000 coupons for a free 20-ounce Coke. You could even sabotage the other teams by voting for distractions that slow them down. A spot with the winning team was shown at the conclusion of the Super Bowl.
This one made our list of Top 10 Best in Augmented Reality, too. Lucky Charms' "Chase the Charms" mobile app let you scan specially marked boxes in search of 8 lucky charms that lead to a very real pot of gold. If you played it (and I did), it would have looked hilarious as you wrangled your phone up, down, everwhere to catch the charms. Sidenote: This was squarely aimed at adults who grew up on the cereal. Not many kids are walking around with a smartphone capable of playing the game. Not that there's anything wrong with that!
Call it the ultimate stare down. It's no TNT Street Promo, or even a Tic Tac Bad Breath. And I have no idea why I would care that the S4 has eye tracking capabilities (I'm not even sure I would want my phone to have such things). But this promo, from a creative studio called Perfect Fools and an agency called Heimat Inc, is worth a stare - with a few laughs along the way.
The Ultimate Driving Machine recently used projection mapping to launch a social racing game designed to promote the new 1 series automobile in South Africa. Players drive via a Galaxy tablet, and thier scores are posted on a real-time Facebook leader board and shared with friends. The best drivers in each location the game was hosted won prizes. And who could have resisted playing?
BMW wasn't the only auto brand busting out the branded games this year.You have to love this interactive display, which enables passersby to race one of three finely detailed miniature Audis using a iPad, to demonstrate just how well Audi hugs the road (positioning undercut, unfortunately, by its share of wipeouts) - and memorialized by Facebook shares of personal video. As Adverblog points out, the fun is in the details: Pay special attention to the miniature roadside billboard that reads "BMWho?"
Sure, the promotional video is going to make your skin crawl. But this branded game from Stride and W+K does seems like a fun way to have your game and chew it, too. That's because the game uses your iPhone camera to detect your mouth movements to control the onscreen hero, Ace (bonus points for including the ability to share images of your crazy jaw action on social media.) Of course, one hopes the flavor lasts long enough to win during gameplay. Otherwise, the whole adventure may leave a, er, bad taste in your mouth.
By now, you should be noticing the social thread through a lot of the branded game winners this year. Many will make our list of Best Social Media Campaigns, too. Here, Heineken recently placed a billboard in airports to daring people to press the button to drop everything and go on free trip to whatever random location appears. And not all of the locations were desirable to everyone. Shortly thereafter, a follow-up game approached people who had tweeted that they'd be up to the challenge, and dared them to do it. The tone: A lot of fun - with a little edge - that suited the brand just right.
Perrier definitely knows how to wet your appetite to find out more. The brand - which describes itself as the sexiest sparkling water you'll ever taste – has launched what appears to be a sensational first-person branded game called Perrier Secret Place. In this choose-your-path narrative game, from Ogilvy Paris, you're transported to an underground nightclub, where you search for a secret bottle of Perrier for the chance to be entered into a drawing for a very real destination vacation such as Rio during Carnival, a party in St. Tropez, New Year's eve in Sydney and so on. if the video above is any indication, it's going to be a steamy ride. It's also in keeping with previous campaigns like Perrier Melting City that used innovative technologies to drive home brand positioning. Nice work all around.
Another game to also make our Top 10 Best in Augmented Reality. A very cool augmented reality game that pits pizza fans against (what else) zombies in a battle on the box top to protect their favorite pizzeria. This is very similar to a prototype game called "ARhrrrr!" developed at Georgia Tech that I discuss in my book, THE ON-DEMAND BRAND. Sure, you have to download an app to play - but given the brand's likely affinity with teen & twentysomething fanboys, it looks to be a righteously cool experience straight from Hell.
Chipotle scored big with an animated film and mobile game as part of its overall "Food with Integrity" campaign (watch companion YouTube video, above, and you get the sense this is more than a game - it's a movement). Here's the thing: As a branding initiative, it has generated boffo results. In its first two weeks, the YouTube video saw 6.5 million views (it's now over 11 million). And within four days of the mobile game's release on the App Store, it was downloaded 250,000 times, making it the top 15 free iOS apps in the U.S. Plus, the beautifully drives home the brand's value proposition. Exactly what a branded game should be.
Infiniti seriously upped its game this year with a responsive video series that uses advanced voice recognition to enable you to influence the action and interact with characters through phone calls. According to the New York Times, the video series - called "Deja View" – comes from Campfire, which readers know to be quite innovative in the way it uses video. This new effort is an extension of a campaign for the Infiniti Q50 developed by TBWA/Chiat/Day Los Angeles. Characters appear to have amnesia, and at various points in the narrative, will call you on the phone (once you've provided it to participate). Your responses to their remarks influence their actions, dynamically shaping the storyline as it goes along - with thousands of different possible outcomes. Even the way you respond to characters' calls can influence the adventure. According to the Times, if you tell a character she is hot, for instance, she might respond to you in a distracting manner. Insult her, and she may just hang up. While technically this may fall more under "branded entertainment" than a strictly "branded game," there are enough game elements here - and sheer coolness - to make our list.
So: What's your view? What games make your 2013 top 10 list? We'd love to hear your thoughts!
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