Warner Bros. Sends 'Inception' Fans On SCVNGR Hunt
Warner Bros. will send people on a SCVNGR hunt beginning Thursday to promote the movie 'Inception," scheduled for release in July. The movie studio partnered with the Google-backed startup to launch the promotion.
The social media game, which requires either an Apple iPhone or Android operating device, integrates massive architectural structures and more than 3,500 movie theaters throughout the United States into the play.
Through SCVNGR, residents in 100 largest U.S. cities can play "Inception"-themed challenges at the tallest buildings like the Empire State Building or the Hancock Tower and major movie theater locations. Movie fanatics can whip out their mobile device, complete challenges on SCVNGR and watch special movie trailers to score limited-edition badges.
"To play you grab the SCVNGR app and start going to places, but in this case it's not just any place," says Seth Priebatsch, chief executive officer at SCVNGR. "Warner Bros. wants you to look and complete the challenges in some of the tallest buildings and movie theaters across the country."
The technology in the SCVNGR application will find the locations offering challenges related to the movie. The challenge might include a video trailer, for example. It may ask the person with the mobile phone participating in the challenge to snap a picture of the building in a mind-bending angle with a cool scene reflected in the glass. Then create a special effect with the picture before uploading online to share with friends.
Sharing the uploaded photo with friends on Facebook, Twitter and other social sites earn the person points. The points provide the key to unlock special "Inception" badges. "The badges get you massive amounts of social props and you get to be the coolest person on SCVNGR," Priebatsch says.
Today, all rewards are virtual goods, but the company has been looking at ways to integrate physical goods. Priebatsch explains that the competitive nature in people keeps the games rolling to gain social pride and social status. Americans spent roughly $168 million on mobile virtual goods in the past year, according to a report by Frank N. Magid Associates and Aurora Feint.
The firm estimates that more than 70 million Americans own smartphones. Some 45% of these smartphone owners play mobile games, and 16% spend an average of $41 per year on in-game virtual goods.
Games, sharing content and location-based check-ins through apps like SCVNGR and Foursquare create buzz across a variety of social media for the person playing the game. The challenges related to "Inception" should create noise through social media in an otherwise silent moviegoing experience.