Digitisation and augmented reality applications on packaging are increasingly blurring the distinction between the real and digital worlds. This creates countless opportunities for gamification. Photo: Blippar
The famous 18th-century German poet Friedrich Schiller once said: “Man only plays where he is man in the word’s fullest meaning, and only in playing is he fully man.” And it’s certainly true that playing games has acquired a very different value for today’s digital natives. Even the generation of 30-to-50-year-olds are largely familiar with computer and video games. No wonder, therefore, that business and industry are using man’s urge to play for the purpose of improving their marketing.
Fun can change our behaviour
This new trend is known as gamification and has been around since 2002. It has become increasingly widespread over the last few years, not just at HR departments wanting to motivate the workforce, but also in marketing, for instance on packages. Using augmented reality or QR codes on packaging, customers are usually encouraged to play games that overcome the barrier between the real world and the digital world. This interactive channel between the brand and the consumer makes it possible to convey additional information on the ingredients, the origin of the product or environmental issues. It happens in real time and involves both games and advertising campaigns. Moreover, it continually enhances the customer’s shopping experience in a way that meets each person’s individual preferences.
This playful approach with rewards, however, is by no means new. It goes back to the 1960s, when Weight Watchers began to leverage this play instinct for their diet programme, in the same way as various companies nowadays encourage their customers to collect miles or points. All of them use game mechanisms, even if the consumer does not always recognise them as such.
A certain type of behaviour is always rewarded. Climbing stairs, for instance, is far more pleasant with a bit of music. This has been proved by Volkswagen at various underground stations, where each step was made to look like a piano key. Most people were happy to ignore the escalator, giving preference to the fun factor and therefore a bit of exercise. However, gamification also makes it much easier to handle everyday tasks, for instance with a gamified to-do list such as Epic Win. To conclude, fun can obviously change our behaviour.
A gamified letter was sent to several interpack 2017 exhibitors by Messe Düsseldorf. Photo: Messe Düsseldorf
A few words on our own behalf
MAX AWARD 2018 – YOUR VOTE COUNTS!
Dialogue is everything. Dialogue marketing puts the emphasis just as much on personalised products as on fully customised engineering, sales digitisation, social media, augmented reality and machine learning.
So who is ahead of the pack? A good way to find out is to look at the MAX AWARDS, formerly known as the German Dialogue Marketing Prize. This annual award is given by the German Direct Marketing Association (DDV).
This year interpack at Messe Düsseldorf is fully involved with a special marketing idea in gamification. Working with an agency, Jahns and Friends, Messe Düsseldorf have developed a mailing campaign for interpack 2017. A message was sent to recipients in a blister pack filled with liquid, and this message could only be worked out by looking at it from a certain angle.
If you like our idea, you are welcome to vote for us online by 9 September (see bottom left):
As early as 15 years ago the fast-food chain started the Monopoly raffle that animates shoppers to buy products in a playful way time and again. They rewarded for this by various instant wins and collectors’ prizes. Photo: McDonald’s Germany