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25/12/2012 by

Gamification In Viral Movie Campaigns

As a former film student, I’m always interested in the movie business, especially when it comes to marketing. So when I spotted an article about a possible new viral movie campaign, I went looking for other examples. The past year has seen an increase in viral movie campaigns that include an element of gamification.

Of course, the concept of a viral movie campaign isn’t new. Remember The Blair Witch Project? People believing it was an actual documentary, is the perfect example of the creation of buzz around a movie. However, adding a gamification element to the campaign is a trend that has been getting more and more attention in the past year.

What is gamification?
Well, it is defined by Wikipedia the following way:

Gamification is the use of game-thinking and game mechanics in non-game contexts in order to engage users and solve problems. Gamification is used in applications and processes to improve user engagement, ROI, data quality, timeliness, and learning.

Just the movie experience isn’t enough anymore for the viewer of our generation. We want to be engaged with the story, feel like we are part of it and can partake in the movie itself. So how are movie marketers attempting to do this? Let’s take a look at a few movie campaigns that included an element of gamification.

DSRW Project
Earlier this month a website called DSRW (Deep Space Radio Wave) Project was discovered. The apparent mission of this project, started by a non-profit research organization, is to “capture deep space radio waves and analyze them for patterns and messages”. The findings of the research were published on this website, and viewers were asked to help decode and interpret them, and maybe look for clues that can answer the age old question: are we alone in the universe? Sounds interesting, right?

When examining the website more closely, a Warner Brothers Copyright logo can be found in the lower left corner. Ah! Proof that the website is part of a viral movie campaign. Which one, you ask? Well, Zack Snyder’s Superman: Man of Steel seems to be the answer, which will be released at some point next year. Creating an element of mystery around the release of a film, and encouraging people to check out what the website is about, will engage the viewer and create buzz for the movie.

The Hunger Games
The marketing team responsible for The Hunger Games knew how to reach the (mainly) teenaged fans of the franchise. The younger generations like virtual and digital worlds they can immerse themselves in, and what better way to engage them than to create a virtual world, calles the Inaugural Capitol Tour, in which they can participate in a digital version of The Hunger Games? See more of the virtual experience here.

The Dark Knight Rises
When the first parts of the digital movie campaign for The Dark Knight Rises appeared in May this year, fans were given an exclusive view into the reports of the “anonymous vigilante” (a.k.a. Batman) case Gotham City’s police department was investigating. Users were given the opportunity to start an investigation of their own.

Police officers, which were the users in this case, were asked to sent photos containing graffiti to an email address of the police department. Locations where Batman had previously been spotted were listed, and each sent photo of these locations unlocked a frame on a second website. Eventually, when the entire game was played out, the trailer of The Dark Knight Rises was uncovered.

My opinion
Letting fans participate in movie campaigns will let them feel engaged with the movie, the story, and the cast, and will most definitely lead to fans being more enthusiastic about the release. Adding an element of mystery, for example in the campaign of Superman: Man of Steel, will get people curious, and encourage them to actively help make sense of the campaign.

Your opinion
What do you think of adding a gamification element to movie campaigns? Will it give an extra incentive to users to help get the movie more buzz?

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About the author
Marion aan ‘t Goor is a Social Media Consultant at Share Force One. You can connect with Marion via Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.


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