June 14, 2011
McDonald’s, T-Mobile interact with consumers by scaling up casual games
McDonald’s recently created a version of Pong on a giant digital billboard in Stockholm and enabled passersby to play it using their smartphones. Players who managed to complete the game in 30 seconds won coupons for free food at the nearest McDonald’s. There was no need to download an app to play, as the game was accessible via a location-aware website designed for use with mobile phones. Though only one person at a time could play, people stopped to observe the scene as the user fought to secure a coupon.
Combining a large-scale interactive digital experience with real-world rewards, the billboard is a manifestation of two of our 10 Trends for 2011: Worlds Colliding (the blurring of the digital and physical worlds) and All the World’s a Game, the idea that brands will increasingly gamify non-gaming spaces. It also was an ingenious way to turn casual gaming, usually enjoyed on a personal screen, into a massively social experience that’s richer and more intense. The promotion tapped into the huge demand for casual mobile gaming with few barriers for entry, since the game didn’t rely on an app download.
Brands should look for opportunities to scale up what is normally small-scale social activity to provide fun interactive experiences. T-Mobile’s “Angry Birds Live” event in Barcelona also is a great example of a participatory effort.