Pervasive gaming is having something of resurgence as brands look to combine the ubiquity of digital media (and in particular location-based technology) with the more childlike intensity of real world play.
Mini is the latest major brand to roll out an adrenaline-fueled ARG platform as it sends gamers on a hunt to catch a virtual Mini in Stockholm.
The new alternate reality game serves up an iPhone app, which will pinpoint both the user's position and the position of a virtual Mini. The object of the game is to effectively tag the Mini and then attempt to keep possession of it in order to win a real Mini Countryman.
Once a player is within 50 feet of the virtual vehicle they are invited to hit “Take The MINI Now” in the app, at which point the app highlights all the other gamers involved and flags them as the ‘Enemy’. Any of these Enemies can take the virtual vehicle from a player once they are within a 50 feet range. The player that ends up holding the virtual vehicle after 7 days of continuous play will win a real Mini.
We’ve seen auto brands using a similar technique previously, as seen in Citroen’s recent virtual hide and seek ‘Streetseekers’ promotion for the DS3. However, the Mini campaign is interesting as it focuses much more on the gaming element, with the chase itself far more important than finding the initial location of the vehicle.
The subtext that people are prepared to fight for ownership of a new Mini is a clear benefit for the brand, while the event itself maintains its association with speed, agility and the ability to navigate a city without putting anyone behind the wheel of an actual vehicle.
The Mini game runs until Sunday and can be viewed in real time via a digital map which highlights all the current players and their location.