Among trends in loyalty marketing, gamification presents a unique opportunity to encourage customer engagement. Games are entertaining, and customers might get a hankering to be entertained at a time when they didn’t necessarily have a hankering for your brand’s products or services. With gamification, you can transform that desire to be entertained into your brand’s marketing opportunity.
Here’s a short list of marketing campaigns that used gamification in memorable ways.

  1. McDonald’s Mobile Ordering “Pop-a-Deal”
This one was basic, and that’s a good thing. The brand is supposed to be the familiar, common-denominator dining spot. In November 2018, you had the chance to open the company’s application each day, and “pop” one of three balloons that appeared on the touchscreen. If you picked a winning balloon, you got a redeemable prize on the app, like a free or discounted breakfast sandwich. The game was simple and accessible to the brand’s seemingly innumerable consumer segments.   
  1. Starbucks for Life
This one is still going on. The game is about collecting three matching “game pieces” on either the Starbucks mobile app or online at As the name of the game suggests, the ultimate prize is free Starbucks for life, which is a good choice for a prize, given that people are more likely to pursue big, fantastic prizes than smaller ones, even if the little prizes come with a greater probability of winning. Another neat feature of this promotion is that users get to collect a new game piece each time they make a purchase, rather than just a new one daily.
  1. The Ally Big Save
During the 2018 Super Bowl, Ally Financial decided to forego costly TV spots and advertise through a game on the brand’s website and mobile app. At first glance, that seems like a terrible idea. Who’s on those devices during the Super Bowl? But here’s the catch: the Big Save game, which awarded hefty sums of money, was only available during the big game’s commercial breaks. Many thousands of people looked away from their TVs to engage with Ally and pursue big money.
  1. Nike+ FuelBand
Now defunct, Nike+ FuelBand was an activity tracker paired with a mobile app that enabled users to set fitness goals and—here’s the game part—compete against other members in the Nike community in their effort to meet these goals. The promotion kept users engaged with the Nike brand. In 2012, following the launch of the activity tracker, Nike’s equipment saw an 18 percent increase in profits. The previous fiscal year had seen a decrease in profits of one percent. That’s an impressive turn around, and it’s proof that gamification works.

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