Over the weekend I checked out Chunkfest, an annual event held in Singapore and organised by ice-cream giant Ben and Jerry’s. Besides getting to taste 11 exclusive flavours that are flown in especially for the event, one also had the opportunity to compete in carnival games to win prizes.
But upon receiving the festival guide I soon realised that event organizers had gamified the event. Festival goers were encouraged to complete activities, collect achievements and unlock rewards.
I appreciate that adding an overall game layer to the event was an attempt to encourage festival participants to purchase and spend more Fair Coins (plastic tokens bought with real money to be used solely at the event) but it just seemed like overkill. I mean, carnival games are already fun in and of themselves. When someone has been dunked and soaking wet, give them a prize already!
Brands are gaining awareness about gamification but in the rush to jump on the social gaming bandwagon, there is a great risk of overusing basic mechanics (points, rewards, badges, achievements) and diluting their meaning. If brands are simply interested in quick-fix gamification, users will soon suffer from points fatigue, if they aren’t already. Good gamification is about creating user experiences that are relevant, rewarding and memorable. It’s not an easy thing to design but infinitely more rewarding for users and brands alike.