A Collective Human Joystick

Media Morph: AudienceGames

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Every week Ad Age Digital's Media Morph looks at how emerging technology is changing the way consumers get their information and media companies and advertisers present their messages. This week: AudienceGames.

What it is: One of the biggest hits at last week's Ad Age Digital Marketing Conference, this interactive game created by Brand Experience Lab requires members of an audience sway their bodies -- think of them as a collective joystick -- to move a game piece on the screen in front of them.
Photo: Scott Gries
If you haven't already heard of it (the game was created last summer), you might soon experience it: AudienceGames is set to be introduced to a much wider audience through a partnership with National CineMedia.

How it works: Picture a cinema. A motion sensor is placed in the front of the theater, facing the audience. The game is on the big screen. When the game begins, the audience has to lean and sway from one side to the other to move a ping-pong paddle or maneuver a car.

The ad angle: The idea is that the games are sponsored. So far MSNBC.com has used a "Pong"-style game in the U.S. (SS&K worked with Brand Experience Lab on the project), and Volvo has used the auto game in the U.K.

The big picture: Chief Experience Officer David Polinchock, who presented the game at last week's conference, said amid all the talk about social media and how it is changing marketing, too often it's assumed to be something virtual or online. There's no reason, he said, that social media can't be created in real-world experiences.

"In our rush to create social networks in cyberspace, we often forget that we already have a start (at least) of our social network in our physical spaces that just need some cultivation," Mr. Polinchock writes on blog.brandexperiencelab .org.

The news: National CineMedia will conduct a pilot test of AudienceGames as part of its in-cinema advertising program. If all goes well, it will be introduced on 750 screens in the top 20 markets.
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