Getting Kids to eat Veggies

<via Contagious>

Everyone knows kids hate eating vegetables—it’s just fact. But Japanese sauce-maker Asazuke No Moto wanted to improve kids’ diets and drive sales, so they created a game to get kids to eat vegetables. Making that change in behavior is no easy feat!

The game is called Funfair in Your Mouth. It activates the computer’s webcam and tracks the player’s head and mouth position, the basic part of the game mechanism. The virtual space takes users through a plane ride or on a roller coaster challenging them to catch as many vegetables in their mouth as possible—but it only works if they chomp down on the vegetable too!

However, the challenge is to actually get kids to eat vegetables, so they leveraged the same technology to incentivize kids to request and eat vegetables. After the first level, the kids had to ask their parents for an actual vegetable to eat in order to continue to the next level. The program would identify the vegetables actually held in hand via the webcam to confirm they were actually eating a vegetable. The cam identified shape, color, and how much of the vegetable had been eaten, offering a burst of appropriately colored firework on screen for each bite taken.

The campaign saw 2.5M virtual vegetables eaten and 25K real vegetables consumed. Asazuke No Moto saw sales increase by 130%.

Why I’m Curious

Leveraging technology to require a behavior to unlock more content is nothing new. We’ve seen it with Like-gating Facebook pages, we’ve seen it with POS promotions in-store, and we’ve seen it with eCRM programs. However, none of these previous programs has tied the actual content of the program so seamlessly with the behavior they want to change. Sure, the content unlocked here is geared towards kids and is very cheesy, so I’m left wondering if the same sort of principles can be applied to campaigns geared towards adults that can equally surprise and delight?

Pizza hut tried a similar campaign with a Chomp-a-thon Facebook App, which required users to chomp through a digital pizza as quickly as possible with a chance to win a prize. This game was not as successful because the game mechanism wasn’t as easy to control. However, I’m also wondering if it wasn’t as successful because it wasn’t as targeted or as insight-driven as this vegetable sauce game.


Chipotle Will Give 20 People Free Burritos Until 2033

Chipotle Mexican Grill turns 20 this Saturday. The popular food chain will celebrate its anniversary by kicking off a 20-day-long treasure hunt, “Adventurrito,” that offers a ‘burritoful’ grand prize of 20 years of free burritos (approximate retail value: $9,100).

Every day at 10:20 p.m. ET for the first 19 days, Chipotle will release a trivia question on, and players will be entered to win free burritos for one year (that’s one burrito a week for 52 weeks). Twenty winners will be chosen at random each day. On the twentieth day, Chipotle will release a final puzzle, and the first 20 players with the highest scores will be awarded free burritos until 2033.

According to Chipotle’s press release, the puzzles will vary in level from easy to challenging, and will “incorporate Chipotle history as well as its commitment to better food from more sustainable sources.”

Why I’m Curious: I always love to monitor various contest use cases for brands. Certain clever executions can have a profound impact on the business, and I am curious to see how this one resonates with the Chipotle consumers. I think the incentivized trivia piece is a nice way to increase consumer education about the brand’s social responsibility, which is a communication goal they’ve been trying to push for a while. This promotional effort seems to hit the strategic mark a bit more than last year’s Halloween contest for $2 burritos for customers who dressed in costume. 

Chewing Gum Video Game is Controlled by Player’s Mouths

A new motion controlled game from the chewing gum company invites you to enter the world of Gumulon, where you get to play as a strange green helmet-wearing character called Ace. The one catch is that he’s controlled by how you chew your gum.

In the quest to defeat a prehistoric cave beast, you have to stare at your iPhone and chew gum in a variety of different ways to control the hero of the story. If your jaw isn’t up to the job, you’ll be faced with the ironic demise of being eaten by the prehistoric beast – after he applies a little seasoning of course.

Why I’m Curious: There’s no denying this is one of the stranger motion controlled games I’ve ever seen, but it’s certainly original. I’m curious about the ways brands like Stride will continue to leverage motion-powered technology in these unusual settings and what direct impact that may or may not have on the business. I really like how Stride gamified the motion that is so intrinsically connected to the product at hand.

The Gamification of War

Less than a month ago, Israel’s IDF took flak for gamifying its war blog, issuing badges and points for sharing its content across social media.

Now, a new free HTML5 and mobile game allows you to play out the conflict unfolding in Syria. Called Endgame: Syria, you take on the role of rebels fighting President Bashar al-Assad. It’s meant to shed light on issues few of us understand in great detail. Venture Beat discusses the game, its ramifications, and its role as part of the larger Game The News Project.

War as a theme is consistent throughout the history of gaming. From strategy games to first-person shooters, chess to Call of Duty. It’s all about conflict and politics. It’s about winning.

A step further and we get America’s Army – a game that’s still going strong in its third major iteration – long seen as more recruitment tool for the US military than casual distraction.

Now, what’s changing seems to be the immediacy and relevance of depicted battles. In an age where Twitter, Google, and Facebook are playing key roles in conflicts and revolutions, the world has access to information and details while they are happening. While shooting your way through a recreated World War II game environment is clearly different than having been there, how far from reality is a game that uses current events and data? Is it glorification or information? Is it still about winning, or more about understanding?

There are organizations – including as the Serious Games Institute and the Serious Games Association – advocating the use of gaming and virtual world platforms to educate and train people for emergency, health care, and survival situations. Use popular tools, those organizations say, to change the world for the better.

Why I’m Curious

Games, like any other form of media, are influenced by society and, in turn, influence society. We have unprecedented access to information, but limited time. We are hungry for information, but don’t always know how to process it.

Does the Syria game, as the latest example, desensitize players to the brutalities of war and conflict, or open up a bigger conversation, get information out to the masses, and offer another way in to find solutions? Do we have a responsibility to build experiences that educate if they touch on hot topic social issues?

I’m curious because I want to help build and use emerging technologies that enhance the stories happening around us, right now, and in the near future.

I’m a bigger fan of understanding than winning – though the first usually informs the second.

GE Adds Health Goals to Facebook Timelines

One of the biggest motivating factors in getting people to exercise is social accountability. GE has tapped into this insight (and the upcoming Olympic Games) with their new Facebook app HealthyShare, which allows you to post your fitness goals, track your progress and cheer for others/call them out straight from your Timeline. Users are rewarded points for every engagement and see a leaderboard displays point count…turning working out into a friendly competition. Plus, with the Work Out With An Olympian feature, users are given challenges and get to work out ‘with’ four Olympic athletes.

Why I’m Curious: We’ve seen a variety of examples of the gamification and socialization of the health/fitness industry. But the idea of setting goals, publicizing them on your timeline, and getting support (or competing) with others can go beyond this vertical. The financial services, volunteer, and travel industries could certainly leverage some of these mechanics to help their target achieve their personal goal.

Cargo-Bot Game Teaches Kids to Program

Cargo-Bot is an iPad game for children that on the surface is about solving puzzles to stack crates. The key is the method in which the puzzles are intended to be solved, however. While the interface doesn’t ask users to write in a programming ‘language’ per se, it requires the crane machine that stacks the boxes to be programmed to carry out certain tasks. What is important about this method is that it places the focus on programmatic thinking instead of coding itself.

Why I’m Curious

One of the most useful applications of gamification is to education, as we’ve see with examples like Codecademy. We already know that gaming teaches the brain to think in unique ways, so combining that with the possibilities of new digital platforms is a no brainer. It will be interesting to see how this impacts the skills of future programmers.

Puma: World’s Fastest Purchase

For the launch of the new Puma Faas running show, Agency Circus and Puma Mexico created a new twist on the shopping spree. When customers entered the store, a Usain Bolt cutout spit out a ticket with a time on it, and as they cashed out, they got another ticket. The faster you bought, the higher discount you got — three minutes got you 20% off, while 10 minutes got you 5%, and so on. 


Why I’m Curious

While I think this is a clever metaphor to communicate Puma Faas speed to consumers, what also stands out to me is that when it comes to interactive experiences most advertisers are currently focusing on check-ins and tweets. But we shouldn’t forget that shopping is inherently interactive, so just by recognizing that existing retail experience, and adding a game element, Puma gives shoppers an extra bit of fun in order to get their discount. And a guaranteed bigger adrenaline rush than what you can get from a Foursquare check-in.

Anywake Gives You a Good Reason to Get Up

Germany-based airline, Lufthansa decided to make waking up a little more interesting with their app, Anywake. Set your alarm and the next morning you’ll be woken up to the sounds of a randomly selected city. To turn off the alarm, you have to guess which city around the world it is. If you guess right, you’ll receive a discount on airfare to that city. Guess wrong, and you’ll have to try again tomorrow. (more at Springwise)

Why I’m Curious

Getting up in the morning is the worst. Anywake makes it more exciting and rewarding. Not only do you get to wake up to different sounds everyday, but you also have a chance to get a discount to go somewhere. It’s simple and integrates nicely into a fairly widespread practice of using a smartphone as an alarm clock. It might not be something a consumer adopts long term (it could become annoying or boring…though that doesn’t cause me to change my annoying alarm), it offers something personalized and builds a bit of excitement around the brand.

Anywake and the creepy app that aims to influence your dreams, are both reminder of how integral mobile devices are to our everyday existence, even our sleep schedule. Making it an area ripe with opportunity for apps and experiences to build on. Maybe an app with subliminal messaging is next?

An Interactive, Educational, and Supremely Smart Fundraising Game

— Jocelyn

Spent is cause marketing at its finest; an interactive game designed to bring awareness (and ultimately generate donations) for a good cause. Created in February 2011 between McKinney and Urban Ministries of Durham, “a faith-based agency providing food, clothing, shelter and counseling in Durham, North Carolina.”

Wired sums it up:

“The game puts you in the shoes of somebody who is low on cash and challenges you to survive a single month. You’re forced to make tough decisions — should you spend most of your paycheck to opt in for health insurance? You need to find a place to live — do you spend more in rent to live near your job, or pay more in gas money to live further away? How about when a friend of a friend offers you $200 to crash on your couch? What do you do when your child refuses to eat lunch because the kids make fun of the free lunch kids at school?”

According to a press release:

  • Over a million plays in 196 countries
  • Average 9 minutes time spent on-site
  • (No word on how much money raised)

Why I’m curious:

This is an extremely effective way to (a) engage users, (b) educate users, and (c) spur action — all to fund-raise. Certain parts of the game build in the option of sharing the game with Facebook friends (“You are offered an extra night-shift, but you have to take care of your kids. Do you turn it down, spend $50 on a babysitter, or ask a friend to watch them?” The ‘watch a friend’ option requires users to post to a friend’s Facebook wall in order to choose this option), encouraging sharing. The entire game has the user live the very real challenges the impoverished face, with additional facts interspersed organically within the game. Plus, the final frame after you survive (or don’t survive) the 30 days prompts donations via Paypal. Overall, this is a very interesting and fun game that not only captures a user’s interest but also emotions. Brilliant.