This article was published on July 3, 2011

The next trend in social media? Real life gamification.

The next trend in social media? Real life gamification.
Lauren Fisher
Story by

Lauren Fisher

Co-founder at Simply Zesty. I love everything social and I think I have the best job in the world! I'm particularly passionate about bloggin Co-founder at Simply Zesty. I love everything social and I think I have the best job in the world! I'm particularly passionate about blogging and seeing innovative uses of social platforms by organisations. Feel free to drop me an email if you've got any questions, comments or you just want to say hi - [email protected]

Fresh out of Brazil is a new Facebook App that turns your relationship status into a game. The app has been developed by the toothpaste brand ‘Close Up Toothpaste’ and is part of a series of campaigns to encourage people to get up close in new ways. To celebrate people getting up close and personal on Facebook, the company developed the ‘Get Closer’ app, which reveals surprise badges to people that take part and are in relationships. Badges are rewarded based on tasks such as tagging each other in photos, or different badges being awarded based on how long you’ve been in a relationship for. The app can be accessed via the Get Closer app link, or through the  Close Up fanpage.

What this app shows us is perhaps the next step in gamification – combining your real life with social rewards. It’s an interesting concept by Close Up, as it suggests that your real life actions will be influenced in a way that they wouldn’t before. The rewards in the Get Closer app are surprises, so in this instance you’re not incentivised to do things differently, as the rewards are unlocked through actions you naturally take. i.e. the app doesn’t say ‘tag both of you in 10 photos for your chance to get x’.

We have seen gamification slowly moving into this real life concept and away from actions you take purely online. But the real life gamification concept is starting to emerge more, with specialist apps such as SCVNGR, rewarding people in shops, restaurants and local businesses, based on challenges set by the owner. Their tagline says, it is ‘a game about doing challenges at places’.

Coca Cola’s summer of challenges

Coca-Cola has recently partnered with SCVNGR to offer its fans branded gifts and goodies based on certain tasks they complete. The campaign is primarily targeted at teens, which up until now has been a small market for location services. The launch of Facebook Places helped to change that of course, but this campaign will be a test of just how far people are willing to go in order to get something free. The ‘happiness in numbers’ campaign helps to socialise gamification, as the challenges are based around getting groups of friends together and posting pictures. An example challenge is shown below

This is an area that’s really likely to explode for brands, as they look to get in on the gamification concept. Real-life challenges such as Coca Cola’s actually provide something extra for you and your friends to do – it socialises the experience and the benefit for the brand is huge, as you have people engaged on a completely new level. The question is of course, how happy are we for our lives to be ‘gamed’ ? Though it’s something we have control over, this concept can likely only be taken so far, unless there is a significant reward in place, or the challenges actually relate in some way to the brand or product in question.

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