“The Optathlon programme has been a resounding success and has generated millions in revenue for United Airlines.”
Extract from United’s campaign video, February 2011
Matmi is proud to have so many very happy clients – but this was a first. Not the quote so much as the fact that our client (via our American partner, Barrie D’Rozario Murphy) was so happy with the results of this campaign, they made a video about it!
What did we do?
If reading is not your thing, then check out the short video explaining the campaign in a nutshell.
Still with us? Good, I’ll continue.
When you’re a global brand, it gets more and more difficult to be bold because there’s more and more at stake.
How refreshing it was then to be approached by United Airlines and the US advertising agency, BD’M. Not only did they want to use advergames for the first time; they wanted to use five of them in a suite on a number of platforms, and put them at the very heart of a promotional campaign for passenger upgrades.
The three online Flash games in the suite were designed to be viral, driving traffic to the Optathlon website. The website drives traffic to the mobile games, and the mobile games drive traffic back to the Optathlon website – which drives traffic to the…. You get the picture. All points of access educated and entertained the customer, leading to a greater understanding of UA’s flight upgrades.
Matmi’s skills on display
The development work took Matmi from our Flash roots for the online games, into Unity 3D for the development of the mobile phone games. The mobile games are on Apple’s iPhone platform and on Google’s Android platform for smartphones (which at the time was one of Unity’s first outings on Android). It was a fantastic learning process for us and enabled Matmi to show just what we are capable of.
Not to boast (I’m going to anyway) but I think the number of industry awards the campaign won proved we had achieved something innovative at the time that also resulted in an incredible ROI for the client.
This was two years ago. Developing mobile apps has become second nature to us, as will be seen with the release of 3 apps later this year (including one featuring Warwick ‘Ewok’ Davis). Not ones to stand still, we continue to push the boundaries in digital advertising – working with companies to create online educational suites, augmented reality apps, face mapping solutions and much much more.
Very fancy but how did the campaign perform?
A stunning success.
During the first three months of the campaign, over 1 million unique visitors had played the online games and tens of thousands had downloaded the games from the Optathlon suite for mobile. Forget the fact that they’re free; feedback was great. 5/5 ratings in the AppStore, and great comments in forums and blogs. 85,000 passengers also claimed on-the-spot flight upgrades via the games (oh yes!) and United Airlines almost got an excess baggage charge for the campaign’s positive PR coverage.
And on 15th October 2010, one lucky player won a sweepstake worth $20,000 in United Airlines’ air miles.
But what’s intrigued us is that the Optathlon games suite is still flying high – even without the incentives of free flight upgrades and a $20K sweepstake on offer. The stats are now at over 8 million plays, which means that millions more customers (and potential customers) are learning about United Airlines’ range of flight upgrade options 2 years after the campaign was first launched.
That’s not just a stunning success. It’s subzero on the cool scale.
Why use branded games in your next campaign?
Let’s return to WHY United Airlines came to us in the first place. The original objective was to break a vicious cycle: passengers didn’t book flight upgrades until they had tried them out – but they didn’t try them out because they didn’t understand them. UA wanted to educate their customers about the upgrades without the individual needing to spend a single penny.
This is where Matmi and our innovative cross-platform branded games came in. Entertainment was the key. Think back to your school days; the majority of people find that the best teachers or the things they still remember are usually the ones that were built upon a foundation of entertainment (whatever form that took). They demanded your attention in a positive manner which increased your engagement with the subject/teacher.
Our suite of games filled that role perfectly, like a digital MC. Pulling in the attention of customers (current and potential) with the games, leading to that all important increase in engagement with the brand followed by a greater understanding of what United Airlines had to offer them. Which lead to the fantastic ROI mentioned in the above video.
If this stellar campaign and its results still haven’t convinced you that a digital solution is the way forward, take a look at another award winning campaign we developed for the band The Gorillaz.
It’s important to note that it’s not enough to just develop any old game and expect it to reproduce the success of the Optathlon campaign. It first requires an understanding of who your target audience is. What they want, where they go to access it and what motivates their behaviour.
So ask yourself, -how well does your brand know its audience? And more importantly – how well do they know you? I can feel a brief coming on…….
When you are ready to maximise your potential for customer engagement, loyalty, motivate buying behaviours and increase exposure …You know who to call.
For more information on what Matmi can do for your digital design needs:
PHONE: 01625 560771