Marketing Gamification: Toyota turns Charging your iPhone into an Epic Game

*New to Gamification? Check out my post What is Gamification & my Gamification Framework: Octalysis*

Toyota and Marketing Gamification

I’ve talked a lot about Product Gamification – how to make your product winning & addicting – as well as some Workplace Gamification. Many of you asked, “But how do we do Marketing Gamification? What does that even mean?”

Well, Toyota is here to show you with its all new Plug-In Champion App!

Toyota Plug-in Championship shows you who’s the best at charging your phones

The Toyota Plug-in is a new hybrid car they are pushing out, and they’re looking for ways to make their car stand out.

What they’ve come up with is sad and brilliant at the same time – they made an iPhone app that turns charging your phone into a game.

Introducing the Plug-In Championship, where people compete in charging their phones at just the right second!

This is how it works:

You open the app, and it shows some slick Tron-like designs with a meter bar that goes up and down. You need to plug the charger into your phone at just the right moment where the meter bar is full (or as full as you can accurately do).

Once you plug in the charger into your phone (lol, I feel so pathetic writing about this), an epic graphic will load, such as a lightning bolt striking, a rocket taking off, or a corkscrew gets popped. Woohoo!! I just charged my phone with electric power!!

It then shows you a leaderboard of all the people charging their phones at the “right time”….as well as “medals” that I have not earned yet.

To make things even more strangely epic, if you go to their Plug-In Championship website and click on “Ranking” it will show you a global view of all the people who are charging their phones with the app on, with very fancy lightning bolt animations, as if we are fulfilling a calling like Captain Planet and the Planeteers to save the earth. This is also similar to what Smule did with their Ocarina App, except they actually did have something exciting to tout to the world (a new song you are playing).

So was this Marketing Gamification Technique Effective?

Lets just say this: not only did this silly app get viewed on Youtube over 15,000 times in 2 weeks, it led to people like me mentioning about the Toyota brand and telling you about their new Toyota Plug-in (I’ve never talked about a car brand before on my blog!). If this campaign caused at least ONE extra person to buy the car now or later, I would say its pretty effective.


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