AToMiC Awards: Games go beyond the virtual playground

Brands use gaming techniques to engage a competitive audience.
IKEA Human Coupons_3

Everybody likes to win, and brands are finding new physical and digital ways to capitalize on this most basic tenet of human nature. They’re taking game mechanics into non-gaming contexts to engage a competitive audience.

Ikea was preparing for a new store opening in Richmond, B.C., and needed a way to incentivize shoppers to visit the location.

To add interest and urgency to a traditional method, it created the first-ever “Human Coupons.” With Toronto’s Leo Burnett, the brand hid ambassadors dressed as coupons around the city for people to find (using clues posted on Twitter) and rewarded them with gift cards to redeem at the store.

The retailer exceeded its goal of visitors on opening day by 45%, as well as sales by 42%.

In Winnipeg, the brand was confronted with a different challenge. Before opening its first store in the city, only 17% of consumers were aware of it.

So it turned Winnipeg into a virtual classroom, giving lessons on offerings through ads. A travelling vending machine also rewarded vouchers when people opened it up using the Ikea Allen Key.

Beyond advertising, SickKids hospital and agency Cundari used gaming techniques to encourage kid patients to record when they’re in pain. The Pain Squad app promoted youth to a new rank when completing tasks and rewarded them with video messages from casts of cop-based TV shows Flashpoint and Rookie Blue. The app won two Gold Lions at Cannes last year and is used by patients in three other Canadian pediatric hospitals.

The Hardware

Best Tech Breakthrough: Gold / AToMiC Idea: Gold/ Best Digital Engagement: Gold – SickKids Pain Squad app / Cundari
AToMiC ROI: Silver – Ikea “Learn” / Leo Burnett
AToMiC ROI: Bronze – Ikea “Human Coupons” / Leo Burnett