You want engagement? Howziz?

May 15, 2007 by Dave Haynes


The MIT Advertising Lab has a post about how MSNBC has an interactive game that puts their brand up under the bright lights and really engages viewers.

It behaves like an arcade game, but instead of there being a game controller, the whole audience is the game controller. The people in the seats before the movie lean right and left to control the game.

Here’s a description from the Brand Experience Lab:

Nervous as I was, I decided we should run a game early and we seemed to have enough people waiting in the theatre to give it a go. Up until now, we had only tested with 10 – 15 people, so having a hundred plus was going to be the right test. We started the game and, despite a little tech problem with the sound being to low, the audience took to it right away. There was a high score from when we did the install and this group decided they needed to beat that score. They immediately began shouting left or right and working together. Each game is three rounds and you could certainly see improvement as they moved from round to round. And, at the end of the game, they were a few thousand points short of the high score.

So, although I had hoped they’d like the game, I wasn’t expecting them to be so enthusiastic! They began yelling to play again and we obliged. Right before the second game started, Sam and the team from SS+K arrived and they were able to see the audience start the second game. …

In all, that audience played about 5 games — 15 rounds — and never lost their enthusiasm for the experience. And yes, they finally broke the high score, which I think is still standing. And most audiences have been just as enthusiastic.

As with an alarming number of things, I’m pretty much out to lunch when it comes to gaming, but I certainly get the idea of this “crowd-gaming” thing and the notion of crowd involvement when it actually is fun and nobody has to be embarrassed.

You could imagine how this sort of thing could not only be applied to signage or large crowds, but on a more intimate way with street level displays associated with retailers or out-of-home companies. Imagine seeing a bunch of people on a sidewalk leaning left and right or jumping up and down. It’s got to draw a crowd.

UPDATE – Here is a video

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