What some marketers miss is that gamification means a lot more than badges, points, mayorships, and leader boards. Those game mechanics don’t necessarily create experiences worth playing. If you build it, they won’t necessarily come.
More importantly, gamification can’t make an un-engaging brand engaging. It may be the shiny new thing, but it’s not a silver bullet. Game mechanics are enablers to big ideas. They aren’t the big ideas themselves.
I enjoyed the recent Pinterest campaign from Peugeot. Peugeot wanted to interact with its Pinterest community, so they created puzzles and scavenger hunts that use the Pinterest platform to complete the puzzles.
What I liked about the idea wasn’t about the game mechanics. There were no badges to unlock. It was just about an engaging experience for the Pinterest community.
For every Peugeot that gets it right, there are many marketing campaigns that use games for game’s sake.
As games designer Sebastian Deterding said, “games are not fun because they’re games, but when they are well-designed.”
(Marketoonist Monday: I’m giving away a signed print of this week’s cartoon. Just share an insightful comment to this week’s post. I’ll pick one comment by 5:00 PST on Monday. Thanks!)