Staring down a great idea

September 6, 2007 by Dave Haynes


The UK wireless carrier O2 has a great new promotion out that involves trying to virtually stare down a member of the British Rugby Union national team.

It’s an advertising game put together by one of O2’s agencies, and meant for people using a browser and a webcam. You try to stare down one of these rather intimidating looking fellas, and if he blinks first, you have <insert some analogy about the size of your naughty bits>.

As reported on the MIT Ad Lab blog: The exciting part is that the game is able to tell when you blink or look away: “We capture the output of the webcam using BitmapData, using the current and previous frames of data we apply a Difference filter to the two images and then we analyse, pixel by pixel, what has changed.”

This sort of thing, installed with a cam and a big-ass screen in a public space like a mall, would be an absolute magnet for passers-by, and create a lot of buzz for a brand.

Now if they did this with New Zealand rugby players doing the pre-game haka ritual, they could count how long people watch before a puddle forms at their feet. Maybe it could be sponsored by Depends?

I’m not a gamer, but I could imagine Electronic Arts being all over something that would promote a sports game and a key character using this sort of thing.

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