Sunday, 9 May 2010

Location based fun

The fifth annual Come Out & Play Festival is happening in Brooklyn in a few weeks time. As well as location based stuff it also includes games that spread out across the city, integrating GPS and location based apps.

Given the growth of apps like Four Square it seems certain that we're going to see a lot more mass participation city-sized games. Concepts that bring people together to compete, explore and have fun across different locations.

The increased ease of sharing photographs has led Shoot Experience to bring people together for photographic treasure hunts around London; Shoot Shoreditch is happening at the start of July.
Noticings is a photographic game that makes use of flickr's geotagging functionality; it rewards people for sharing interesting things they notice in their urban surroundings.

Forward thinking brands are already finding ways of using Four Square to engage their customers as this piece on Mashable shows. Perhaps though what is most interesting isn't so much these new location based technologies as new ways of thinking about connecting people across locations; creating mass real world experiences that don't rely on everyone being in the same place at once. Nike's recent Grid campaign in London used good old fashion phone boxes as a way of helping runners compete against each other to own postcodes.

Location based thinking and technology, as well as being a rich area for innovative marketing ideas, has a pragmatic benefit for brands looking to create mass-scale real world experiences, as Nike Grid shows, it can remove the need for a single large-scale resource heavy event that brings everyone together in one place.

For more on this topic, it is worth keeping an eye on Come Out & Play and the games and ideas that it gives birth to.