The next phase in social media : real life gamification

Original post by Lauren Fisher via

Fresh out of Brazil comes a new Facebook App that turns your relationship status into a game. The app has been developed by the toothpaste brand ‘Close Up Toothpaste’ and is part of a series of campaigns to encourage people to get up close in new ways. For the first app they’ve turned their attention to the growing concept of gamification, which many brands are starting to explore. To celebrate people getting up close and personal on Facebook, they’ve developed the ‘Get Closer’ app, which reveals surprise badges to people that take part who are in relationships. Badges are rewarded based on tasks such as tagging each other in photos, or different badges being awarded based on how long you’ve been in a relationship for :

The app can be accessed via the Get Closer app link, or through the Close Up fanpage

Real life gamification

What this app shows us is perhaps the next step in gamification – combining your real life with social rewards. It’s an interesting concept by Close Up, as it suggests that your real life actions will be influenced in a way that they wouldn’t before. The rewards in the Get Closer app are surprises, so in this instance you’re not incentivised to do things differently, as the rewards are unlocked through actions you naturally take. I.e. the app doesn’t say ‘tag both of you in 10 photos for your chance to get x’. But we have seen gamification slowly moving into this real life concept, and away from actions you take purely online. But the real life gamification concept is starting to emerge more, with specialist apps such as SCVNGR, rewarding people in shops, restaurants and local businesses, based on challenges set by the owner. As their tagline says, it is ‘a game about doing challenges at places’. The app may not have hit the mainstream just yet, but it has a loyal following, with fans completing tasks such as making a piece of art out the tinfoil on their lunch :

Coca Cola’s summer of challenges

Showing that this concept is starting to emerge, Coca-Cola have recently partnered up with SCVNGR to offer their fans branded gifts and goodies based on certain tasks they complete. The campaign is primarily targeted at teens, which up until now have been a small market for location services. The launch of Facebook Places helped to change that of course, but this campaign will be a test of just how far people are willing to go in order to get something free. The ‘happiness in numbers’ campaign helps to socialise gamification, as the challenges are based around getting groups of friends together and posting pictures. An example challenge is shown below

This is an area that’s really likely to explode for brands, as they look to get in on the gamification concept, but link this very much to real life, as opposed to arbitrary actions taken online, that seem to be points-based for the sake of it. Real-life challenges such as Coca Cola’s actually provide something extra for you and your friends to do – it socialises the experience and the benefit for the brand is huge, as you have people engaging with you on a completely new level. The question is of course, how happy are we for our lives to be ‘gamed’ ? Though it’s something we have control over, this concept can likely only be taken so far, unless there is a significant reward in place, or the challenges actually relate in some way to the brand or product in question.


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