Gamification, Second Cousin To Californication

Last week we took up game theory in this space. Today, with the help of Reuben Steiger, CEO of social media agency Millions of Us, we’re looking at game mechanics, and the impact these mechanics can have on marketing.
Writing in Ad Age, Steiger says:

Today, the research on buying behavior is beginning to be reframed in terms of gaming mechanics. Game mechanics are the rules and rewards that make a particular game fun and gratifying. I eat a ghost in Pacman and get 200 points. I pull a lever on a slot machine, three cherries line up and bells ring while money pours into my hands. Farmville and other social games have mastered these mechanics to combine highly addictive positive feedback loops with viral social play. Users compete with each other for status, measured in “levels,” while paying real money for virtual items that enhance their gameplay.

Simply put, people like treats.
Steiger also points to Bunchball, a company that injects social gaming into your site and social sites like Facebook and Twitter. Bunchball says, “Gamification works because it satisifies our fundamental human needs and desires.”
“People have fundamental needs and desires – for reward, status, achievement, self-expression, competition, and altruism among others. These needs are universal, and cross generations, demographics, cultures and genders,” according to Bunchball.
I’m intrigued by this. What kind of social gaming might we bring to AdPulp? Do you want virtual currency for participating here? The experts say you do. What do you say?



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.