Wieden+Kennedy, Gumulon and Stride at the IAB Awards

Post by young work experience lady, Vicki: 

Last Wednesday, after a worryingly slow
taxi journey through central London, W+K digital strategist Matt Simpson and I made it to the Internet
Advertising Bureau HQ with a few minutes to spare before the start of the
Creative Showcase Award seminar. Matt had been invited to collect an award for
Stride Gum’s new chew-controlled iPhone game, Gumulon, created by Wieden+Kennedy. As the seminar was
celebrating four months' worth of creative campaign winners and runners up, as
selected by a team of senior creative judges, I was lucky enough to see
presentations on some of the best digital advertising of 2013.

Matt gave an animated presentation that
explained the three main stages of the process of creating Gumulon. The
presentation was very well received by the audience, except one member who
caused a bit of a stir by interrupting Matt to ask what the readership of
Stride was…’Umm, it’s a gum…’

IMG_2445

Having downloaded the game and played it several times, which involved chewing my gum extremely vigorously on the tube
home, I particularly enjoyed Matt’s demonstration of how the game works (on a
non-existent phone) and seeing how silly I must look when I play it. But that’s
the point that Matt made about the brand; it celebrates people who boldly do
their own thing, and Gumulon definitely lives up to this value. 

Matt was presenting alongside three other
award winners: Glue Isobar’s new Pringles ‘Fan vs. Flavour’ campaign, R/GA
London’s new Getty Images ‘The Feed’ campaign, and Maxus’s new Mercedes
‘#Youdrive’ campaign. My personal favourite out of these three was the Pringles
campaign as I think it best captured the essence of the Pringles brand value of
‘unexpected fun’.

All in all, attending the seminar was a
really interesting experience that gave me a great insight into the production
of creative campaigns. 

Download Gumulon here and try chew-controlled gaming for yourself.

CHEW THE FUTURE! Introducing Gumulon.

WH_AppStore-Screenshots5-11

Over the past 12 months we’ve been on a
journey with Stride gum. A long, chewy journey.

We’ve explored the outer galaxies,
pioneered new technology, created a new reason to chew and discovered a new
alien race. We’re now at the end point of this epic voyage, which is
appropriately situated at the bottom of a deep space mine.

The purpose of this interstellar
expedition?

To fuse Stride gum and video-gaming together in perfect harmony.

Hello there, and welcome to Gumulon.

 

Available today, free (FREE!) on the App Store,
Gumulon premieres groundbreaking chew track technology, allowing players to
control a free flowing game solely by mastication. Yes, it’s a game you control
by chewing Stride gum.

Gumulon sees you play as Ace, a renegade
alien miner who unintentionally awakes a terrifying subterranean monster. The
aim of the game is to escape from said monster, saving other miners along the
way, by jumping Ace up the deepest mine Gumulon has to offer.

Via the front facing camera of an iPhone or
iPad players use their mouths to control the intergalactic action. You chew,
Ace jumps.

WH_AppStore-Screenshots5-13

With Gumulon we didn’t want to just create
a throw away branded game. We wanted to create a new experience, with Stride at
its core, that players would want to return to over and over again.

This meant starting from scratch and
building our own software to make chew tracking a reality. For this we needed a
partner, enter Johnny Two Shoes. Chew-controlled gaming. Not a trick, is it?

An indie games studio of incredibly high
quality, their hard work on the project has helped to create a game we’re all extremely proud of. We hope you enjoy it
too.

Also, a massive shout out to super-producer Dom Felton (#MajorBlazer) and creative
tech Will Hooke who have sacrificed their ability to be in same room as each
other to make this happen. Thanks guys. 

There will be more Gumulon chat here in the
near future but at this very moment in the space-time continuum it’s your duty
to go and save Ace. Download the game here.

E3 / Xbox One vs. PS4

Yesterday saw the launch of E3 (the Electronic Entertainment Expo, the world's foremost video-game industry conference) in LA. And it was an epic start: the big news was the full unveiling of the next–gen consoles, the Playstation 4 and the Xbox One.

Due to launch in fall (it's what they say over there, apparently) both are pretty formidable pieces of kit, and they'll make the next wave of games look very, very pretty indeed.  The notable difference between the devices isn't necessarily in the spec, however. It's in how the wider ecosystems work, and how each company wants you to play, share and live with the consoles. 

The differences are pretty stark. Xbox One requires a camera (which may or may not be always on and watching), online authentication for games, will place restrictions on used-game sharing, and is region-locked. The PS4 doesn't require an always-on web connection or camera, allows full and open game sharing, and is apparently region-free (great news for all you Japanese gaming fans out there, a market that’s been almost completely closed to Western gamers for the past decade). 

To top it all, the PS4 is around £75 cheaper…

This is interesting because the respective stance of each company reflects an almost completely opposing philosophy on not just the future of gaming, but of the potential future of digital entertainment per se. (A future that's already being explored by the likes of companies such as Ouya).

The console war will rage for years beyond E3 2013 (they're likely to be in-market between eight and ten years) and there'll be a load of ups and downs for both companies, but this is an incredibly strong start for Sony.

-GD

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The Internet's Take.

A short rant about games, play and storytelling

Three weeks after new-to-agency-land Dan Hon joined Wieden + Kennedy we put him under no pressure whatsoever and thought it’d be a good idea for him to explain himself to everyone. Which he did by doing a show and tell about games, play and storytelling.

Three weeks after new-to-agency-land Dan Hon joined Wieden + Kennedy we put him under no pressure whatsoever and thought it’d be a good idea for him to explain himself to everyone. Which he did by doing a show and tell about games, play and storytelling.

Three weeks after new-to-agency-land Dan Hon joined W+K we put him under no pressure whatsoever and thought it'd be a good idea for him to explain himself to everyone. Which he did by doing a show and tell about games, play and storytelling. He only had to follow Eric Cruz so it's not like there was a quality bar or anything.

He promised that there'd be lots of swearing and that it would be entirely well-researched and hyperbole-free so we knew we'd be in for a good time. Here's Dan:

Three Simple Rules

Number one: Games and Play are Mainstream Culture now. 

Deal with it. Games are just a medium. Just like telly or film or print. They're not defined by a particular genre, but have a whole bunch of different genres. Shooty games. Racing games. Word games. Stuff like Farmville. They're all games. 

Dan hon.015 

 

Look, the BBC did some proper serious research and found that 100% of 6-10 year olds play games, just under 100% for 11-15 year olds, trailing off to about 20% for 51-60 year olds. 

The thing is, that proper serious research the BBC did was back in 2005. So now all the 6-10 year olds have grown up. 

The Nintendo DS was only a year old in 2005. The Nintendo Wii, that thing that your parents use to play tennis at Christmas, that wasn't even due out for another year. And that's before all of your Facebook games.

Dan hon.031 

 

Look, in March this year, there were nearly 90m people playing Farmville. That's a lot of people spending a lot of time and money clicking on their farms. 

Is this is a big deal?

Of course it's a big deal.

The Sims, one of the most successful "traditional videogame" franchises around has sold about 100m copies worldwide. But it did that over 10 years. Grand Theft Auto, a franchise which has been around for about 13 years has sold about 90m copies. For comparison, Grand Theft Horsey, also known as Red Dead Redemption, is the second in its franchise series and sold around 5m copies in 2 months. Halo, one of the standout successes of Microsoft's Xbox, has sold around 25m copies. That's about 2m more than Nintendogs, the well-known (still with me?) dog simulator. 

Dan hon.039 

 

Then we've got all the online games like World of Warcraft. 12 million subscribers, making Activision/Blizzard, at about $15.99 per subscriber, a bajillion dollars a year. Then you've got sites like Pogo.com, the EA-bought Playfish, Kongregate, Miniclip… but Facebook is where the action is. It's the giant elephant in the room that lots of people are staring and pointing at wondering when it's going to crush them.

Dan hon.053 

 

There's some good news, though. Zynga – the guys behind Farmville – and all the other new entrants, they don't have everything that easy either. Farmville's been losing players since March this year, around the time Facebook stopped developers from sending messages directly to people's Facebook accounts. 

Dan hon.030 

 

So. Recap time! Ignoring games is like ignoring TV, interactive or print. Your audience is already there. It's a rich and fertile medium with tonnes of creativity, bursting at the seams. The costs to entry are all over the map, from tens of millions of dollars to bedroom developers. You know. Just like video content. And what's happening to all of old media is happening to games too. Digital distribution, disintermediation, all of that stuff. 

OK. Number two: Gameification. If it were easy, everyone would be doing it. People are giving you points and badges for EVERYTHING. 

Dan hon.063 

 Thing is, though, it's more complicated than that. If a mediocre ad is a mediocre ad, then adding a mediocre game to it just means you've added a mediocre game. It doesn't make what we do anything better than a cargo cult that's slavishly copying what we think works: we need to really understand games, fun and play. Gameification is much more than adding points, badges and prizes. 

Dan hon.074 

 

It's not really that complicated. It's just that in the West we've got a bit of a hang up about play. It's probably something to do with protestantism or something. Play is just, well, playing. Noodling around. Seeing how little bits of culture fit together. That kind of thing. Layer goals on top of play, then you've got a game. Look: sitting with a big pile of Lego and putting it together in bits and pieces – that's playing. Saying to someone "who can build the tallest tower with just the red bricks?" – that's a game with goals. 

Dan hon.075 

 

So if we look at play like that, then fan fiction is playing with words, characters and settings.

Games are complicated. They're not a genre. They're a medium that's got genres. Look, here's a great history of games from Jon Radoff.

HistorySocialGames1-1 

 Okay. Here's another game. It's a cheap-and-dirty version of romance. There's rules. There's a win/lose situation. There's cheats, tricks and hacks. Everyone's a player. The very survival of humanity is at stake. And it can even be fun.

Dan hon.078 

 

So what are we doing in advertising?

Well, first we copy what other people do. Crispin worked on the Burger King games. Or we make Flash games. 

Or, we do what we normally do, but in other places. 

Dan hon.084 

 Also known as pissing in other people's swimming pools. I mean, really? Burnout Paradise was a game that took years to make. It's been beautifully designed. And we want to put repurposed banner ads in it? Who wants that?

I don't think that's the right thing to do.

We should be doing better than that.

OK, recap time! Making good games is easy like making print or TV is easy. Which means it's not. It's actually really hard. But that's never stopped us from making great print or TV, has it? But: there's lots of great people out there dying to make awesome stuff. 

Last bit. Story.

Games tell stories, right? Like Halo? Which tells the story of a man with a gun shooting aliens in the face? I kid. There's Dante's Inferno, too. That's where a guy with various bladed weapons descends into hell to rescue the girl. You know, like the book. Or Uncharted 2, which doesn't want you to think about Indiana Jones. Or Professor Layton, which "leverages the shared culture around the concept of Pandora's box". Or World of Tolkien. 

So most of these games, they're linear. The story is exactly the same for everyone. Well, the narrative is. The plot is. The point isn't that all games need story – Tetris is the canonical example of a game that does perfectly well without one – but that game with stories can be good. And that good games with stories tell linear stories that are explored in non-linear ways. Also, I'll punch anyone who says that Grand Theft Auto has a better story than The Godfather. 

Storymaking, though – that's non-linear. That's more interactive. 

So, next.

Dan hon.114 

 Steve Jobs, eh?

Apparently he's a big deal. Lots of people have bought kit from him. He's even got a bookstore that sells eBooks.

Dan hon.118 

This isn't an eBook though. It's an app. Confused yet?

Dan hon.119 

Here's a magazine as an app, made by our friends at BERG.

Is Steve's magic tablet going to save us?

No. It's not.

Partly because if we start with things like this:

Dan hon.121 

We'll still end up with things like this:

Dan hon.122 

Which, OK, are interesting, but surely we can do better than that.

Dan hon.125 

It makes Wayne Rooney sad. It's the storytelling, stupid.

Oh, and finally? 

Alternate reality games, alternate reality experiences, all that stuff?

We're still doing it all wrong. There's still a lot of this stuff:

Dan hon.144 

 (viewing source code, "de-stegging" – which sounds like it could be a kinky sexual practice but really isn't, waiting, codebreaking, more codebreaking, esoteric knowledge, viewing more source code, solving stupid puzzles, buying UV torches, more waiting and having no idea what to do…)

Dan hon.145 

 (and even more "this is not a game" pretend reality stuff, lazy calls to action, helping a teenage girl, helping an attractive teenage girl, helping an attractive amnesiac teenage girl, "the order", treasure hunts, millions of blog entries and characters of bloghorrea, jumping through hoops and just using platforms because you can and because they're there)

Look, bad storytelling is just bad storytelling.

We're here to create strong, provocative relationships between great companies and their customers. Games and new ways of storytelling are a fantastic and incredibly exciting way of doing that.

Phew. That was long.

Blood, sweat and phone boxes.

After an intense, sweaty and nerve-wracking twenty-fours over the weekend, Nike GRID is complete. Challenges were set, personal-bests were beaten, phone calls were made and winners were crowned.


We’ve learnt a lot. Real-time communication and distributed events are very, very hard to control. Phone boxes don’t always work (but they’re fixable). Self-organising communities are remarkably helpful, efficient and powerful. And sometimes, the odd person will try to cheat (but the GRID always works it out).


40 postcodes were claimed. Over 2,700 people joined the Facebook community. Around 3,000 individual runs were logged at all times throughout the day and night. A few hardy players even ran marathon distances. We had requests from around the world asking if we could replicate GRID in other cities. And judging from most of the anecdotal feedback, lots of fun was had. But this is only the start.


Will we do it again? Let’s see what happens.


Below: Ben Satchwell, SW3 winner, basking in the glory of his very own phone box.

 

Grid winner