What Do Instagram, Beer and Gamification Have to Do With One Another?

Wait—did I have you at Instagram and beer? I’ll give you a second to grab a drink and check your feed, just so you can get up to date. Feel better? Good.

Ted Baker

By using a specific filter, Ted Baker’s Instagram followers learned that it’s not all as it “seams.”

And so it goes with our modern connected lifestyle.

Each and every one of us—at least those of us who are connected to our phones— have followed that zigzag line of thought before. When we check our phones 150 times a day, how many times do you zig and zag?

Think about it. You are reading an article, a text comes in, you respond and then launch an app where you see a funny picture of your friend on a boat, which drives you to comment … wait, wasn’t I just reading an article?

All of that happens in about 20 seconds. On the train to work, squeezed in between a guy wearing sunglasses and a furry white coat (it’s July, you think) and a woman eating her breakfast. It’s distraction disguised as multitasking, driven by fear of missing out.

Let’s not get distracted ourselves, though: What do Instagram, beer and gamification have to do with one another?

Let me Google that real quick. Wait a second!

And so it goes with modern marketing. How do brands or retailers break through this clutter of distraction? The train example above could be applied to what you do in a store or, worse, while you are driving. When any and every ad can be skipped or blocked, the interruptive marketing of the past simply doesn’t measure up to our modern lifestyle.

So, how can people be reached? This is where the switch from interruption to utility becomes important.

Let’s take beer first. In what has to be one of the best billboards recently, Carlsberg set up a beer-dispensing billboard in London where people could sample a half-pint on their way home from work. This fit within their “Probably the Best” campaign, because, after all, what would be better than a normal billboard? One that dispenses beer, of course!

On to Instagram and gamification. Fashion brand Ted Baker created a game on Instagram that asked its followers to regram photos that contained hidden messages. Followers could see the secret messages only by selecting the correct filter. Then followers regrammed with #Pinch_Me for a chance to win a prize. Using gamification to reach distracted audiences on this platform is a unique approach that helps drive engagement.

What have we learned by all this? Creating interactive moments and rewarding participation with a brand is the new way to connect with people. This can be when we are commuting, shopping or just hanging out at home.

So, the new marketing mantra can be summed up in three succinct words: Utility. Beer. Instagram.

Tod Szewczyk is VP, Director of Innovation at Leo Burnett. He spends his time incubating ideas in the agency’s Retail Innovation lab, curating content around how brands are using technology to reach consumers and producing large scale, global innovation events.

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