All posts in “social gaming”

Social-Powered Holiday Cheer and Goodwill

Karly Gaffney is a Manager on the Content and Community team at Social Media Group.

Every so often I pull my head out of the social media world and take a look at what’s actually happening out there IRL. I did just that recently, researching holiday campaigns that were taking place in the real world but being powered by social media. As it turns out, there are not only some really cool campaigns out there, many include a charitable element, making it so much cooler.

For those of you who have either been living under a rock or like to stick your head in the sand around the holidays, I’ve put together a list of some great social-powered holiday campaigns from 2011/2012 for your reading pleasure.

The Christmas Spirit Tree

Here in Toronto last year Canadian Tire and TribalDDB launched an innovative “Christmas Spirit Tree” campaign in the heart of downtown at Toronto’s Union Station.

A 30-foot tree was wrapped in 3,100 lights that reacted to social/digital conversation buzz around the Christmas holidays. Posts that included words like Santa, holiday, merry, gift, time and year contributed to the holiday light show.

What was really awesome about it is that the colour and brightness of the lights were directly related to online activity:

  • When the lights flashed white, social networks like Twitter and Facebook were alive with Christmas chatter.
  • Green lights meant Christmas was being mentioned in the news.
  • Red lights showed onlookers that blogs and forums were abuzz.
  • Blue flashing strobe lights were reacting to people posting massages on the Christmas Spirit Tree microsite or sending a text to the specified number.
  • The brightness of the lights represented the total number of messages per minute being shared, so when online sharing was at its highest the tree shone its brightest.

The Communitree

In November of this year there was a great campaign called The Communitree supporting the Philadelphia Toys for Tots charity.  Scented ornament company Scentsicles teamed up with the online Christmas Tree retailer Balsam Hill to create a robotic arm that was controlled remotely via a microsite to digitally decorate a real Christmas tree.

Each ornament added to the tree equated to a $5 donation to the charity and users were encouraged to share their activities on Facebook with each like on their posts adding an additional $0.25 to the cause.

The whole thing took place on livestream and they hired two fun hosts to interact and engage with the visitors both online and through a phone they had on set where people could call in their holiday song requests or to ask questions talk to the hosts. They were also able to tweet them at @TheCommunitree.

At campaign end, they raised a total of $21,330 for the Philadelphia Toys for Tots and there were 2,159 ornaments hung on The Communitree. It looks like their top participant in the leaderboard received 172 likes (x $.25) on his/her post.

Zynga’s Oh, What Fun

Zynga recently launched their holiday “Oh, What Fun” campaign, which turns virtual goods into real-world donations. From now until Dec 31, Zynga is offering players the option to purchase an in-game good that will benefit Toys for Tots this holiday season. Items start at as little as $1, making it a bit of a no-brainer for gamers who want to give back but don’t know where to start.

If you’re a Zynga gamer who plays CityVille, CastleVille, Words With Friends, FrontierVille, Bubble Safari, Draw Something or Farmville, you have the option to purchase a good and make a donation today.

I love seeing brands use social platforms to not only generate awareness about their products or services, but also to spread goodwill and cheer during the holidays.  Have you seen any other really great real world social-powered campaigns?


Social Gaming is the New Black

Gamification and social gaming are two trends that are taking social network communities to an entirely new level.  Although very different animals, the growing popularity and fast-moving industry is catching the eyes of both investors and the technology-savvy public.  As recently as this week, RIM acquired Scoreloop and is pushing to get into the mobile social gaming network.  Why?  The possibility to be a part of another successful IPO (like the recent LinkedIn offering) in the games industry makes the possibly substantial return on investment alluring. Even the most financially-shy investor is watching to see what happens (See Up Next for Tech IPO’s: Social Gaming).

Social Gaming, What’s the Big Deal?

Why are investors ready to jump into the already heavily-crowded gaming industry? Social gaming is about the user experience and competition. Take Farmville for example. You must have a Facebook account in order to be able to play, and can request, compete and socialize with friends to grow your status.  Social gaming is also heavily app-driven, with most social based games available on your smartphone.  Consider how often you may find yourself commuting to work, or waiting for someone, and automatically log onto your phone and start playing a game.  The user investment in a game is generally a minimal cost, of any (typically ranging form $.99 to $2.99 on average) or close to the cost of a good quality coffee.  Keeping in that in mind, it’s still a billion dollar annual business.  Given that gaming is becoming a second nature reaction, start-ups are hoping to catch the interest of investors and get a cut of the pie.  With the prospect of Zynga Preparing to File for IPO [REPORT], the gaming industry is about to take a new step with investors salivating to get a piece of the action.

What About Console Games? Where’s their future?

Console games as a whole are starting to flatline.  Even Call of Duty: Black Ops, which hit record sales upon release, has slowed significantly with interest turning more and more towards online, social and incentive-based game experiences. Strong game titles and potentially repetitive story lines are starting to lose the interest of the gaming community.  However, some companies such as EA games are jumping on the social gaming platform as opposed to fighting against it. With the wildly popular The Sims now coming to Facebook,  players will be able to socialize and fraternize to their hearts content all through their smartphones.

Change in Demographic

The beauty of social gaming is that the demographic is no longer narrow or typical of the gaming community. Both women and men, in multiple age groups are participating by downloading and engaging in game play. The average age for participation is also widening, with children in the United States as young as two playing (see Kids Online Game Moshi Monsters Hits 50 Million Registered Users). This coupled with mobile access is looking to be one of the largest trends in social media for 2011.

Subscribers to our mailing list should keep an eye out for SMG’s mid-year 2011 Trend Report – we’re working hard to compile a social media state of the nation and our point of view on the evolution of the big trends.