The restoration of fun

by annabellajoske

Since the ancient times, game play has been a means of human expression, addressing the natural and inherent human instinct of becoming enticed by any task that is competitive, rewarding or fun (Marketing Weekly News, 2013). As civilization continues to progress the fundamentals of gaming techniques are becoming more prevalent. The amalgamation of gaming has now firmly integrated itself within the advertising industry, cultivating a new kind of engagement between brands and their consumers. This rising trend is being recognized as “gamification”, and is defined by The Gamification Encyclopedia as “the integration of game mechanics into non-game environments to increase audience engagement, loyalty, and fun.” (Gamification Wiki). The popularity of this trend can be seen in the substantial increase in the global market, which is expected to rise from $242 million in 2012 to a staggering $2.8 billion by 2016 (McCormick, T, 2013).

In the industry of advertising one main objective is to alter consumer behavior. Where traditional advertising techniques fail to retain attention and drive real results, gamification has offered a solution (Marketing Weekly News, 2013). The sky rocketing trend has given brands a means to modify consumer behavior through involving participants with the brands (Carton), simultaneously establishing deeper and richer relationships. In an article by CMO, Rajat Paharia, CEO and founder of Bunchball, alleged  “Gamification is a way to bring more value and increase engagement—it gets users personally invested”.

Whilst some advertisers are achieving great success, many have begun to tactlessly jump on the gamification bandwagon, in hope of establishing richer relationships and modifying consumer behavior. Like most practices there is required recipe for success. In his article ‘GAME MECHANICS EVERYWHERE: Nissan’s Leaf Rewards You For Eco-Friendly Driving’, writes:

Gamification isn’t a panacea and it’s not something that can just be added to your next campaign or corporate training initiative. Like all good marketing and communications techniques it needs to start with understanding, incorporate creativity based on that understanding, utilize media and technology appropriate for your audiences, and be executed flawlessly.”

Gamification offers advertisers an opportunity to implement fun into otherwise mundane tasks, bequeathing consumers with a means of motivation. Volkswagon is a company that have efficaciously exploited the fundamental principles of gamification through the ingenious creation of the ‘fun theory’ website. The sites mission is based on the premise, “that something as simple as fun is the easiest way to change people’s behavior for the better. Be it for yourself, for the environment, or for something entirely different, the only thing that matters is that it’s change for the better (Volkswagon ).

In March of 2011, the well-known deodorant brand Lynx skillfully incorporated gamification into their product launch of Lynx Excite. The campaign tactically engaged consumers in an interactive augmented reality game, luring patrons on to specific patches of floor. This in turn activated an angel to appear, allowing partcipants to watch themselves interact with the virtual angel on the big screen. These were setup around highly trafficked areas such as subways and parks in London (Marketing , 2012). Click here to watch the video. 

 Car dealer, Nissan, for the launch of the electric car, the Leaf, also achieved great success through the use of gamification. The company incorporated a gaming system called ‘CARWINGS’. This allowed users to track how eco friendly they drove, and put them in competition with other Leaf drivers (Gobry, 2010). The objective of this campaign was to utilize peer pressure in order to change driving habits of its users, under the veil of a game. The company ultimately used gamification as a means to encourage responsible driving.


 Gamification has endowed advertisers a unique tool into reviving the fun and joy back into consumer’s lives, aiding to change consumer behaviour. As big corporations such as Nissan and Volkswagon seek to make beneficial changes in the world, others too may follow in their footsteps. Gamification will only continue to prosper and cultivate within the field of advertising.



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