Posts Tagged ‘gaming’
29th May 13
I spent a wonderfully stimulating day at Kill Screen Magazine’s Two5Six conference recently – a chance to listen to some smart thinkers and practitioners from the independent games scene talk about their ideas, their projects and the wider gaming & cultural landscape.
Game folk and advertising folk have much in common; their powerful interest in user/consumer motivation; the importance of design as a tool of differentiation; a shared vocabulary around community management, UX and behavioural economics; a belief that ‘problem solving’ lies at the heart of what they do.
But an exchange at two5six did force me to consider whether there were also some fundamental differences between us – maybe even a wholly different world-view.
I was telling the game designer next to me about my son who, aged nine, spends quite a bit of time designing and playing games on his computer. While the Labs Dad in me is keen to nurture this, I did twitch when I saw this post on his tumblr.
Two minutes after describing this common modern family issue, I saw a twitter @ message.
This struck me as a wonderfully elegant solution to ‘a problem’, and a solution that is most unlikely to have come from an advertising mind. Our instinct is to accentuate the positive and sell the benefit. We’d have looked for an emotional product demonstration, the product being a beautiful spring day. We might have tried inventing a new game that could only be played outdoors. We might have partnered with an ice-cream firm to exchange cones for game cartridges. But creating ‘more fail’ when the sun shines brightly? An idea that could only come from the delightfully twisted mind of a game developer.
There’s lots to learn from gamer types. They know UX, they know behavioural economics, they know problem solving. But most of all they understand failure in all its glory. Its power to motivate and drive behaviour. Its ability to throw into relief even the smallest triumphs. That overcoming a thousand tiny failures sometimes beats a single big win. That perhaps fail alone can get a young gamer out of the living room on a sunny day.
20th July 11
Posted in interactive
Author: Priyanka Kanse, Strategist, BBH London
If you are under 11 you might be aware that Fruit Shoot launched something very cool last week. If you’re not, here is the story of Champion of the Playground:http://www.vimeo.com/26663730
The work we’ve been doing with skills for the last couple of years meant that the Fruit Shoot brand was in good health, but this wasn’t transferring to success at the checkout: our core target audience (8-10 year olds) were turned off by the younger kids coming into the brand and didn’t want to be seen drinking the product.
Our solution wasn’t a big ad campaign, but a branded gaming platform which merges the virtual world with the real world and recognises the importance of competition and challenge for 8-11 year olds.
One of the very first pieces of paper that the creative team wrote were the principles of Champion of the Playground (below). It’s really nice to sit down at the end of phase 1 and think that the site is still true those original principles.
What we’ve learnt
Much of the commentary about participation platforms seems like common sense, but how the hell do I implement it? We’re learning all the time and there is so much we could say about this project, but these are some of our most interesting findings:
Measure every decision you make against what your user will find compelling. I’m not always a massive fan of research for traditional advertising, but for Champion of the Playground it was essential. One, we’re not 9-year-olds and two, the project lives or dies by its ability to engage.
The first response by kids to the initial ideas was ‘but how do you stop other people from cheating?’, which meant without unique codes that encrypted the Skills Kit scores, the idea would be fundamentally undermined. We were told that we’d have to wait over a year to get kit with codes, which didn’t really fit with our delivery date, but our Creative Technology wizards worked directly with suppliers to program boards and test prototype equipment.
I also now have a favourite ever research moment: In user-testing with a site prototype one of the kids was asked if they would play the game. His response? “Yeah, but they have to advertise it on TV so I know about it” – so well trained!
Picking the right battles:
Not that we had lots of fights, but it’s really hard to pick what to invest development time, brainpower and cash into when all the features look so darn good. And sometimes the most important details are the ones that you can’t see. We bought a games designer in to fix the games and reward logic so that the game felt fair. Just writing that sentence makes it sound simple, but it’s such a delicate balance to achieve and so crucial to the playability.
For us, Champion of the Playground is a great example of how a brief doesn’t have to be answered by traditional advertising solutions. Why do we expect our audience to spend time with us if we’re not entertaining? By creating a game which is inextricably tied up with kids’ personal progress, we are giving them something that they genuinely want to participate in.
When you create an idea that isn’t a campaign, you naturally earn the right to exist for a longer time and in different formats. The initial response to Champion of the Playground from kids has been enthusiastic, which means that we get to keep creating and keep evolving. So keep an eye on FruitShoot.com, because we have some exciting things planned.
Credits (names in bold might as well get COTP tattoos, such has been their dedication to the cause)
Clients: Nadia Moussa & Debbie Eddy
Creative team: Simon Pearse & Emmanuel Saint M’Leux
Creative directors: Rosie Bardales, Jeremy Ettinghausen
Digital producer: Susan Liu
Technical director: Jim Hunt
Head of Creative Technology: Jon Andrews
User Experience: Ricky Faria
Account team: Ngaio Pardon, Alex Monger, Anna Halliday
Strategist: Priyanka Kanse
Strategic Business Lead: Nina Rahmatallah
Production Company: Unit 9
Game consultant: James Sheahan, Metagames [http://metagames.co.uk/]
Below the line agency: The Marketing Store