We’ve seen advertising get increasingly interactive recently, as brands find new ways for users to become a part of the entire ad experience, as opposed to a more static relationship with the brand message. We have ads that we can play with, that take over our screens and that don’t even resemble ads at all.
Now Magnum, a popular chocolate brand of the Unilever fame, has come along and completely turned the world of advertising on its head, with their new interactive game: The Pleasure Hunt. The aim of the game may sound fairly standard, in that you control a character trying to catch as many chocolate buttons as possible. But check it out for yourself and you’ll see it’s an entirely new brand experience.
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As well as developing a clever and inviting game, what Magnum has done here is to make advertising a part of the story without you even realising you’re constantly interacting with different ads. As you’re taken through different sites, typical web assets that we’re used to such as buttons with a call to action and classic banner ads become tactical parts of the game, jumping on them to take you through to new levels. Though it’s not clear on what basis Magnum decided which brand sites were included in the game, this likely joint advertising effort is innovative and in my opinion, a complete game changer.
I’ve played the game for quite a while and what I’m amazed at is the level of recall I have for the brands that make up the story. I remember for example starting off by leaping into a Samsung tablet device and jumping onto a floating banner ad for Dove to reach a new stage. I couldn’t tell you one other ad that I’ve seen online this morning. The reason for this is because you don’t even realise it’s an ad at all. We see it simply as a mechanic in the game, a stage that we have to complete so you find yourself experiencing it in a completely different way. We barely even notice banner ads on a site usually, yet here I am trying to get a character to jump on one just so I can reach a chocolate button – yet again another product without even realising it.
This signals in a new era advertising and the role that brands must now play when they decide to interact with people online. Not only do they have a job to do in telling us about their product, but an even harder job to do in how they decide to engage the user. This isn’t to say that they need to have creative messaging or imagery; ads have always had to work hard to stand out from the crowd in that respect. Now brands have to decide on which format and platforms they’re going to engage – and more importantly – entertain us through.
This is getting to the absolute heart of advertising in a new way. It’s always been about forming a relationship with someone and envoking an action, encouraging them to think or feel about your product in the way that you want them to. Ads have constantly evolved in this respect, with new formats and techniques introduced that entertain us. It’s easy to forget that Soap Operas are called such because soap brands such as Palmolive decided to entertain housewives by creating a miniseries for the radio that introduced plots and characters around their product.
Skip forward to how we live today and when faced with a barrage of content to sift through online, what better for a brand to instill a positive feeling than by giving us a whole new type of content and something which we’re likely to share with our friends, growing the viral reach of the brand? It’s getting harder and harder to fool people. We know where we expect to see an ad on a site or social platform and very often we will choose not to look at it at all. Yet, Magnum has us spending time with different brands, with their own product consistent throughout, all for our own personal gain just to get further in the game. Pretty impressive.