ADOTAS – Kiip, the company that pioneered offering real-life, physical rewards for mobile game players, announced today it had leveled up and has begun incorporating big-ticket items into its rewards. Kiip has partnered with Disney during this holiday weekend in a promotion whereby people playing mobile games can enter flash competitions to win prizes as large as a surround-sound HDTV. That’s a big step up from, say, a free soda for trouncing a video game boss.
Kiip has been around a few minutes now, having launched in April with a still-teenaged CEO, Brian Wong, at the helm. Wong had looked to way web advertising had been hurriedly adapted for mobile (Wong has been known to describe that adaptation “Honey, I Shrunk the Banner Ad”), and he looked at the way people were increasingly glued to the video games on their mobile devices, playing for no benefit other than a sense of achievement. Enter Kiip, which took, as Wong explained it in a phone call yesterday, “the moment of achievement — it’s also a moment of pause,” with all of its emotional weight, and used it to offer a physical reward. The idea, psychologically, was that the player, in that triumphant moment, thereby develops an affinity with the brand offering the prize. Early brands to get involved included Vitamin Water, popchips, Dr. Pepper, Carl’s Jr. and 1-800-Flowers.
Wong explained Kiip had been looking toward promotions with a wide range of industries, but the number of people playing mobile games at any given time initially posed a challenge. “What about auto? What about travel?” Wong mused out loud. “You can’t give away a million cars.” On the other hand, he pointed out, “You’re playing with a hundred, thousands, a million people at the same time. How are you able to harness those people?” Indeed, considering the numbers almost made it imperative that there were higher stakes with rewards.
And that’s why these flash competitions, in which game-players on the Kiip network face off against each other in real time — the feature’s called Swarm — are different from what Kiip has been doing all along. “With every Kiip-enabled game, we can say, ‘Okay, for the next two hours, you get the highest score, you can win a” big-ticket item, Wong explained. Disney’s the first brand to jump on board with a Swarm campaign — it’s a four-day (through Dec. 26) promotion for its John Carter movie. Great timing for Disney: The entire set of people playing video games on Christmas is quite the captive audience. But the “captive audience” factor is, according to Wong, one way of circumventing some of the trial and error that goes into online marketing. “This guarantees a participating audience,” he said.