Thirty-two percent of time spent on mobile devices by Android and iPhone users is spent playing games, according to the latest mobile growth statistics for 2013. The study also reports that 45% of mobile users report being influenced to buy a product in a store after seeing a mobile ad. So it’s not surprising that advergaming (or gamification) is the hottest mobile trend of the last two years. One company that recently turned some heads upon entering the mobile advergaming arena with their use of new mobile facial recognition technology is Stride gum.
Stride has developed a cool new way for consumers to have more fun chewing their gum with the mobile game Gumulom. The game, which is available from the iTunes store for iPhones and iPads, is set on the imaginary planet of Gumulon and follows Ace, an alien miner who is trying to escape a prehistoric cave beast that he accidentally awakened while digging in a mine.
What makes this game completely unique is that it uses facial recognition technology to power the game. Every time the player chews, a movement that is detected by the camera on their mobile device, they make Ace jump…the faster they chew the higher he jumps. At the end of the game a picture of the user is captured and placed on a final status page, which can be shared with friends.
Gumulon was released in June 2013 and is free to download. According to Stride, the main purpose of the game is to interact with Stride gum consumers and fans. “We always seek to engage our fans and provide unique experiences,” said Stride’s Lauren Sella. “The most exciting thing for us is that chewing Stride gum now provides a truly original way to use gum chewing to control and play a mobile video game.” Of course, for Stride it’s also about selling gum. The chewing action encourages players to pop a piece of gum into their mouth, and game unlocks can be activated by scanning the barcode on the back of packs of Stride gum while in the app.
The game is still relatively new, only being available for five months, so it will take more time to see how, or if, Gumulon impacts brand loyalty, buzz or sales for Stride. However, according to Google, preliminary results are positive. There’s been more than 200,000 downloads of the game, and the average session time is two minutes, 20 seconds. The customer reviews of the game on the iTunes store are mostly positive, with a 4.5 out of 5 star average rating. Gumulon is also receiving a lot of attention and buzz from others in the marketing and website industry. Creators Wieden & Kennedy London won an award for their work on the game, and the game was featured on Adobe’s Favorite Website Awards (FWA) website as the “site of the day” on Nov. 4.
Stride is deserving of the attention they have received for launching the Gumulon game, which is not only a smart marketing tool, but also a great use of cutting edge mobile face-recognition technology. Now, if only they would create a version for Andriod phones (please!).