When you’re in the grocery store, you might come across a bunch of Chiquita bananas wearing tags promoting the upcoming film, “Rio,” or a floor cling with similar messaging. And when the film opens on Friday you’ll see Chiquita product placements woven into the storyline.
The deal to promote the film from 20th Century Fox also includes a Chiquita-“Rio” branded site developed separately from Chiquita’s main site. All this sounds pretty standard for a movie partnership until you discover that the "Make Your Way to Rio" sweepstakes site has been gamified, or populated with popular concepts taken directly from the world of gaming and applied to site features.
Gamification began taking hold in media and entertainment marketing and has expanded to loyalty programs, brand marketing and promotions, and even into call center operations and sales incentive programs. Experts say marketers should think like gamers because the randomness or chance woven into most great game experiences is novel and keeps people interested.
“Anywhere there are people to be motivated you can use game mechanics to motivate them,” said Rajat Paharia, the founder and chief product officer of Bunchball, an online gamification solutions provider.
Bunchball's Nitro platform is used to power the gamification system at the Chiquita/Rio promotional Web site where players complete certain tasks—like watching a movie trailer, coloring pages, tweeting or posting to Facebook about the movie—and then rewarding them with badges that unlock content and prizes. Prizes include ringtones, music from the movie, Chiquita bananas, an Xbox and a grand-prize trip to Rio de Janeiro courtesy of American Airlines. More than 27,000 badges had been earned already.
“As an individual user I’m being rewarded for consuming content, but the more friends I can pull in as well unlocks more levels and high-level prizes,” Paharia said.
The promotion, which ends May 31, operates using five concepts from game designers to motivate player behavior:
1. Badges are used as a way to reward players for accomplishing missions. They use the badges to fill their passports and complete levels of game play.
2. Players work as a team, collaborating to complete missions. Each time one player earns a badge, the total number of earned badges increases. As that total number of badges goes up, more prizes are unlocked with the prize packages becoming progressively better.
3. The news feed shows all player activity, a way of surfacing and cross promoting all of the content being consumed. It shows life and activity in the game and that there are other people are playing. Players can see what others are doing and get clues to what they should do next.
4. The leader board shows the high scorers to help ramp up competition among players and sustain interest.
5. Notification Players get real -time feedback via an icon that pops up in the bottom of the window. This is an immediate reinforcement of the behavior and the reward with a recommendation for the next action.
“Rio,” from the creators of “Ice Age,” makes a good partner for Chiquita. The tale unfolds as a bird named Blue, the last of its kinds, has to make its way to Rio to find other birds like him. Another good tie in for "Rio" is its recent integration into one of the top selling app games, "Angry Birds" in a version called "Angry Birds Rio."
While 20th Century Fox used gamification to create interest before and during the run of the “Rio,” Universal Studios used the concept to draw interest after its release of “Despicable Me” and during the run up to the DVD release with a promotion called “Minion Madness.” The promotion included web, mobile and social media featuring a point‐based rewards program, weekly sweepstakes and prizes. The program rewarded users "Minions" points for entry into weekly, monthly and grand prize giveaways and included such gaming concepts as a leader board and missions.