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Gamification: The Next Big Thing In Marketing?

If you keep up to speed with the latest developments in the tech world, you’ll probably have heard that there is a new kid in town threatening to steal the crown of Social Media.  It’s called “Gamification”.

Before I start it’s worth mentioning that one of my passions as a child which has carried over into adulthood has been a passion for gaming.  Ever since Santa brought me an Atari 2600 back in the early/mid eighties I was hooked.  A few years later I graduated to a Commodore 64, and since then have got hours of entertainment out of a Nintendo 64, Playstation 2, Nintendo Wii and an Xbox 360.  I wouldn’t call myself an avid gamer, spending hours in front of the screen, but I do manage to fit a few 30/45 minute sessions in each week, to help me wind down.

A few years ago one of my colleagues in Oracle wrote a blog post that caught my attention which he titled “Work Could be More Funner”.  The basic premise was that “people love games and why don’t we mix work with games to see if something good happens, spice up the workday a bit”.  Since then, given my personal interest in gaming, I’ve always kept an eye on what developments have taken place to blend the world of gaming with the world of business.

In the last few months the term ‘gamification’ has been popping up frequently in the various blogs I read and podcasts I listen to.  Given this frequency I thought that this warranted some attention and further investigation.  What I’d like to do in this blog post is share with you some of my initial findings.

What is Gamification?

According to the wiki, gamification is “the concept that you can apply the basic elements that make games fun and engaging to things that typically aren’t considered a game. In theory you can apply Game Design to almost anything including Education, Health, Work and more”.

Some Examples in the Business World

So now we’ve defined gamification I thought it would be interesting to look at some recent real life examples where game concepts have been applied in a business context.

Case 1 – Turkcell’s Tweet More


In Turkey the Mobile Internet has never been very popular.  This was a big problem for Turkcell who were planning to launch new smartphones bundled with mobile Internet.  To do this they ran a very innovative campaign which combined Twitter with gaming.  They created a unique live competition which enabled Twitter users to participate and spread the message.   Using a live video feed, Turkcell asked the twitter crowd to unpack a surprise box by tweeting what was written on the attached post-its. Hereby they had to use the hashtag #turkcelltweet. As the post-its unfolded, Turkcell wrote their campaign messages and the users spread the word to their followers voluntarily.

To keep the crowd interest many mini-games (including Pictionary, Trivia and word puzzles) were added to the competition. The winners of these games won minutes and mobile data packages. In the last post-it Turkcell even asked all participants to be retweeted by a celebrity. The ones who completed this big challenge won the very phones that were bundled with Internet.

The competition was live for three hours a day for seven days. During this campaign more than 56.734 tweets were send using the accompanying hashtag. This resulted in an approximate reach of 3.6 million people and Turkcell being a trending topic for eight days.

You can watch a video giving an overview of this innovative campaign in the video below

Case 2 – McDonald’s Pick n’ Play


In Sweden, McDonald’s has taken the next step within the area of outdoor billboard marketing. Using a large interactive screen the Pick n’ Play campaign offers an engaging small-game in which people can win their favourite Mc Donald’s treat.

By using the latest mobile technologies people are able to connect their smartphone with the billboard and try to complete a 30-second game in order to win digital coupons for free food in the nearest McDonald’s store.

The video below gives you more insight into the campaign

In the interest of brevity I’ll leave you with these two examples.  If interested in more, you can find them if you visit this site –

The next big thing?

Could this be the next big thing in marketing? My own thoughts are that there is certainly something interesting happening here.  We have a new generation of consumers who are familiar with and enjoy the concept of gaming.  Anything that can grab their attention and get them to part with their cash, or raise awareness of your brand, can only be a good thing in my view.

I’d be really interested in reading your views in the comments.

Want to know more?

So has this brief introduction whet your appetite?  If you really want to learn more about gaming and it’s potential (not just in the business world), I would highly recommend the following talks from the always excellent TED Conference

Jane McGonigal – Gaming can make a better World

Seth Pribatsch – The Game Layer on top of the World

Let me know if this topic interests you and if there is sufficient interest I will look to develop it in future posts. As always, thank you for taking some of your time to read this post.

Image credited to

I live in Kilkenny, Ireland, and I'm married with one daughter. I was born in Derry, and came to Kilkenny via Manchester, England, and Dublin. My passion is all things Social Media, and for the last 2 years I have been working as a Social Media Evangelist for Oracle, where I have worked for the last 8 years. This role entails, promoting the use of Social Media internally for improved communication and collaboration. My other interests include sports, especially football (soccer), reading, video games, movies/tv, music and walking.

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  • Very interesting post Frank, I was aware of gamificationu00a0but from a far, but this post has been able to fill in some of the blanks for me. A recent example I liked comes from Marriott hotels who are using social gaming to help recruit newu00a0employeesu00a0in locations around the world. Players have to carry out tasks that reflect what happens in a real hotel:u00a0

  • Roisin Bell

    I’m not a gamer but I can certainly see the advantage in adding some fun to interactive marketing. I agree that this is one to be watched and will surely develop further. So those hours teenagers spend playing games may not all be for naught – there could be a career in the area and not just in game software development…u00a0

  • Anonymous

    Fascinating post, Frank. That MacDonalds game takes me back to when I was at school! Nice use of the technology today. Thanks for the info.n:0)nLewis

  • Well I’m hooked! This is exceptional – an interactive fun-inspired way to market a concept or idea. I can see this really taking off andu00a0definitelyu00a0keen to hear more.nExcellent example Frank and great post!

  • As a Nintendo fan myself I can see the attraction…. Gamification wasn’t something I knew much about until now, thank you Frank.

  • As a Nintendo fan myself I can see the attraction…. Gamification wasn’t something I knew much about until now, thank you Frank.

  • I’m definitely NOT a gamer, in fact I find it mind-numbingly boring.u00a0 My children however love it and I can see how that generation would find it fun.u00a0 I missed the gaming boat by about ten years methinks.u00a0 I do however love the concept of gamification and it has been my experience that people learn best when they are having fun, I just didn’t call it by that name.

  • Caliman

    hey all, Check this one out! Just launched, receiving great response. Hope you enjoy. We at SIRIUS are happy with ROO so far as the game results to date fully meet our intended outcomes.nn

  • Hi Frank,nJust getting to thiis post also.u00a0 Looking at my own behaviour on Four Square and the gamification elements they have built in I would say it has a bright future.u00a0 Looking at the habits of younger net gens i would imagine it will be expected.nEoin

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the comment Niall, glad that your awareness has now been raised.u00a0 Thanks for another excellent example.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks Roisin for the comment. If this takes off I’m sure there will be lots of opportunities for people who are skilled in non-technical development, but also in other aspects that make games successful e.g. good storytelling.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the comment Lewis

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the comment Christina.u00a0 I’m not mad about the term Gamification, but I can certainly see the concept taking off

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the comment Catherine.u00a0 What’s your favourite Nintendo game.u00a0 I’m a big fan of Zelda games.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the comment Mairead.u00a0 I was big into gaming when I was young.u00a0 Thankfully my mother had the foresight to ban gaming during the school week and to kick us out the door on the odd summer day when we got good weather.u00a0 It’s nice to think though that there is a possibility of some practical application of this in the real world.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the comment Eoin.u00a0 I’d say the next few years could be telling, however I’m seeing enough examples to suggest that things are starting to accelerate.

  • Zaslam

    Excellent post Frank. Always been fond of the idea of increasing engagement through games, but never heard of Gamification before.

  • Anonymous

    Frank,nnI’m wondering if gamification is more attractive since there are so many of us who were introduced to gaming via Atari, PlayStation or Nintendo. There are other systems but my point is that we’re familiar with the electronic format. Much simpler versions have existed for sometime in the form of scratch tickets, typing in codes on a website or texting to a particular number. This seems tou00a0take it to another level. Does it only apply to business to consumer or could it also work with business to business?

  • Great post and examples Frank.nI agree about the term – some terms really had little thought when they were born – like vlogging – it makes sense but sounds so weird when I say it – reminds me more of flogging than blogging “)nn”We have a new generation of consumers who are familiar with and enjoy the concept of gaming” – this is so true. What I find ironic is with the huge advances in technology, these marketers realise how important it is to keep the games simple and easy to use on a mobile device. So it’s strange and great to see new technologies mixed with the old favourites (games)

  • Roisin Bell

    I agree with Niall, it’s very difficult in these challenging economic times to ignore an opportunity, even if it’s peripheral to my main business activity. I suppose the best strategy is to focus my business development efforts on my core business and if another project lands in my lap then I won’t ignore it, but I won’t (short sightedly) pursue that area. u00a0Thanks Mairead, I can always do with more focus!

  • Absolutely Roisu00edn,u00a0 we can expand on an opportunity that presents itself without ignoring our niche.u00a0 That in itself might prove to be another profitable niche for future use.u00a0 The thing with becoming good at one niche is that when we are good other niches open up for us to expand into as well.

  • Anonymous

    A piece of advice we all fail to remember sometimes!! nBut its amazingly effective, it helps you focus, reach targets and give the best service to the clients that need it most!nnThanks for the reminder!n

  • Excellent written article along with great video.I found it quite useful.Many Thanks for sharing.Keep sharing and updating your blogs in future too.nwebdesign moraynn

  • Thanks for making the sincere try to provide an explanation for this. I feel very sturdy about it and wish to learn more. If itu2019s OK, as you attain extra intensive wisdom, can you include more posts similar to this one with more information? It would be extremely useful and helpful for me and my colleagues. n

  • Backlinks are key to
    getting found in the search engines.Well mate i really enjoyed while reading
    your article.Thanks a lot for sharing.Keep sharing as always.

  • Hi Elaine,
    I guess the other thing with goals is to remind ourselves on a regular basis which ones need the most attention. 

    Some goals are more important than others.


  • Great post Elaine.  Very timely for me personally.  Thanks.

  • An inspiring post Elaine, thank you, Lorna

  • Thank you Lorna, hopefully there will be a line or two that will resonate with the readers, and inspire them to move further with their goals

  • So glad you enjoyed the post Tom, and of course that it has been useful to you. Even our business goals can be very personal, and can affect us just as much as personal goals, so the post is relevant for all goal setting 🙂
    Here’s to your personal success!

  • Hi Ivan,
    Yes this invites a discussion around time management, and identifying which goals are important and which ones are more urgent. Defining them as short, medium and long term can be helpful in this regard. This can also help guide us away from constant fire fighting and planning for the future in a more structured way, rather than just dealing with issues as they come up (which of course are not goals, and distract us from our goals).
    Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • What a great question Niall, and hopefully some day we will all have the answers 🙂
    Seriously, I feel it is so subjective, that a target for one, could be a goal for another!

    My personal thoughts on this are that targets for me are mostly value related – monetary, percentages,  values and they lead to the ultimate goal.
    A goal is always time related (unlike a state “I want to be happy”) and we can use targets to milestone towards that goal.
    For example, if the goal in a organisation is to increase customer care responses by 26%, then targets will be set (generally by management) for each player in reaching that goal. XX extra calls need to be answered, bounce or drop rates need to be reduced by x%. They could also be achieved by streamlining other processes.

    We could also view targets not as monetary, but as something else – a target market for example. So we target our target market in order to achieve our goals of €XX sales, X% profit or X% market share.

    So I would see the goal as the vision, and the targets set to achieve that vision. Would this resonate with you?

  • Indeed Catherine, very often for business owners, their business goals can be intertwined with their personal goals, and some of them should be. For specific personal or specific business goals, the post is very relevant for both (or either).
    Thank you kindly for the kind comment 🙂

  • Thank you, Helen! That’s a great suggestion 🙂

  • Maurash

    Very Good Advice – I like Helen Cousins point reference linking to email signature

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  • Nice videos.I enjoy at the time of watching these video’s.Keep it up.

  • John Twohig

    Fab to see teenagers developing a product like this from the kenel of an idea to a real product. I hope the product achieves great sales and we get to see them on our shops shelves. Great find Aoife.

  • Ty Kiisel

    Knowing what a lender is looking for when they evaluate your loan application is a good idea. This is a good start, I’m looking forward to sharing more on this topic to help small business owners get the financing they need to grow healthy, thriving businesses.

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