Pavlov’s Humans: Gamification meets MacDonald’s digital billboard. Time to drool!

by editor on June 24, 2011

We’ve been hearing the “gamification” bandied about lately. Gamification is the use of game play mechanics for non-game applications. It strives to encourage users to engage in desired behaviors in connection with the applications. Gamification works by making technology more engaging, and by encouraging desired behaviors, taking advantage of humans’ psychological predisposition to engage in gaming. The technique can encourage people to perform chores that they ordinarily consider boring, such as completing surveys, shopping, or reading web sites. Here’s an example of gamification combined with an interactive billboard. Winners get a free McDonald’s dessert. Remember the experiments Pavlov did on dogs? Pavlov would have loved this one. Guess who’s the dog?

Here’s the story as told on the Ooh-TV website. “McDonald’s Sweden has just finished its Pick N’ Play operation. The concept was simple — it allowed passers-by with a Smartphone to play Pong on a giant screen in Stockholm. Winners got a free dessert.

Anyone close to the screen could log on to a specially created web-site and play. There was no need to download any application. The player chose the dessert that he wanted to win and started to play, using the telephone as a joystick. If he was not knocked out after 30 seconds, he received a coupon on his phone enabling him to collect his prize at a nearby McDonald’s. The campaign was created by DDB Stockholm.”

Pavlov and his dog.

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