According to eLearning Industry, ARGs or Alternate Reality Games are “An experience that takes place across multiple platforms, formats, and locations.” Something that “Has elements of eLearning, computer games, geocaching, scavenger hunts, live action role-playing, and social learning in Alternate Reality Games.” But that in itself is not the full extent of this initiative. With proper implementation, this initiative has the potential to attract up to millions of players worldwide. Alternate Reality Games could possibly be one of the best method of getting the involvement of your potential consumers through a marketing campaign and this article will tell you why.
What is an ARG?
Alternate Reality Games are more than often a collaboration of a scavenger hunt and a mystery case. Sparking engagement through the puzzling clues it leaves and drives collaboration within individuals that are equally interested in finding the answer. Through the challenging tasks it provides and offers to the players, often times an ARG is seen as something that might alienate consumers instead of draw them in. However, what is often overlooked is that despite not everyone is able to participate in such a hunt for clues and puzzles, everyone can bear witness to it. The mere activity in itself becomes intriguing and often leaves people fascinated by them, and this often leaves quite the examples.
The Problem with ARGs
Albeit having early 2000s with Microsoft’s marketing campaign for the movie; Artificial Intelligence, ARGs had always been thought as expensive due to the need of in-depth elements such as puzzles, mysteries and the incorporation of those elements to the real world. Combine this with things such as website maintenances and other variety of costs, Alternate Reality Games have always been considered an intimidating campaign to plan, let alone execute. And despite the results ARGs seem to bring, with its level of virality and reach, it has never been a true trend or mainstream within the world of marketing. However, the argument here is that perhaps now it is the time to ignite a more creative approach to ARGs.
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Why ARG is Now Simpler
After nearly 2 decades of its first case, ARGs are now getting simpler to plan (With the creation of intricate elements of the game aside). This is due to the fact that communication and media had grown wildly since then. It is much easier to spread the fire of the game’s virality online. And such ease comes from (but not exclusive to) the following:
- Growth of the Internet and its ease of use
- Growth of Social Media
- Rise of services that serves to ease phases of an ARG’s creation
How Alternate Reality Games Drive Such Engagement
Everyone loves a mystery and many people love challenges. A good ARG brings the best of both worlds. An ARG can create a challenging mystery, driving the curiosity of its players and bringing creative ways for the players to progress the game. In its essentiality, an ARG uses the same drive that makes people think up and love things such as conspiracy theories. Since, within an ARG, initially you would not know what the purpose of the challenge is. The cryptic nature and intermingling over the world-wide web would spark a sense of genuine curiosity and fascination.
ARGs’ Effect to Brands
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Besides leaving behind a spectacle in the brand’s history, players that had partake in the game or even onlookers that observed its progress will familiarize themselves with the brand that conceived it. And this is no small matter. As, if the game itself reached the ears of hundreds of thousands or even millions, those very millions would be the one to see the brand in high regard for the clever marketing. And besides spreading brand awareness, would most likely also promote a better image for the brand as all creative marketing plans tend to do. And should this be coveted into recruitment for capable hands, the campaign itself would also serve to be the best type of assessment for it.