How To Motivate Customer Engagement With Your Brand

“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





It’s a paper thin world…

A side project from one of our very talented designers utilising the fantastic Unity3D along with Cinema 4D and Adobe Photoshop.

Here is Joe explaining the project:

I’m a designer, but I am trying to learn to code to help me understand the most efficient ways to provide assets to implemented in to a game when it comes to working alongside developers.

The game is designed around the concept of a procedurally generated world, all the trees, rocks, birds are all placed randomly everytime a new piece of land is drawn. I’m hoping to create a game in which the player can jump in and out for any given amount of time to provide an ever-changing experience which is tailored for both short bursts and long playing times. I don’t want to give too much away of the actual gameplay yet, but the character will definitely not be a cube!

Because of the limitations of mobile devices in terms of processing, I have decided to go for a really low-poly stylised environment. This perfectly suited the idea of everything being made of paper and appear to be handmade, I’m also creating all of the textures and models from scratch. 

Matmi Gives Nivea Game a HTML5 Upgrade

Matmi have just launched an updated HTML5 version of the “Mementos of Closeness game for our friends over at Nivea and ITV. 

We were asked to update the previous flash version of the popular hidden objects game that we created last year adding a new colourful jubilee themed level for 2012. 

The thinking behind the HTML5 conversion was to use the new technology to enable the game to be played on ipad and across multiple platforms; this not only increased the brand reach but also gave us the chance to carry out our first Html5 conversion.

Apple, Microsoft, Google, Mozilla - four of the largest tech companies are actively pushing HTML5 in all areas, including gaming. More importantly, their products account for 97% of browser usage.

- Gamasutra

Html5 is a big player with a bright future in the digital industry, but is still in its infancy…There is an argument to say that it will take over from Flash in the games arena but this remains to be seen.

With Unity3D throwing their hats into the platform ring again by adding the ability to export to Flash, this debate could go on for a while yet; and whilst the W3C still hasn’t come to agreement on the HTML standards -it’s certainly an interesting time for developers!

With Matmi’s strong standing in all of these platforms, we are ready to take on any challenge!

San Francisco!

Matmi jet setters James and Jeff were invited to attend the San Francisco Gamification Summit by our friends from RedCritter last week – we would like say a BIG thanks to Mike and Erika for looking after them and making it all possible, it was a great opportunity for Matmi to meet some of the big players in digital and do some serious Stateside networking with Sega, Unity and Microsoft.

The team at RedCritter invited Jeff to speak at the GSummit 2012, to discuss his thoughts and experiences with their brilliant gamified project management tool. We have been using RedCritter with great success internally for some time (see blog post) – so it was great to finally put faces to names and meet the guys who are behind this software, as well as checking out their newest ideas and meeting some great other companies and people in the industry.

Here are a few words from the big cheese himself about his State side experience:

“James and I really enjoyed our trip to San Francisco. It felt like a place of great opportunity, and it was brilliant to meet some of the brands we have always admired.

We loved visiting the SEGA offices, it was fantastic to meet the Sonic & Monkey ball team in person, we look forward to working with them soon. We also visited Unity3D headquarters and I’d like to thank Tracy who has been helping us with our latest projects; they seemed pretty impressed with what we had to show them and its been a great pleasure to work together. If you don’t use Unity3D to make games yet - you should!

The Gamification Summit was fab – there are some brilliant new companies and products entering the digital space. The USA seem to be leading the way in gamification; we met Bunchball, Big Door, Badgeville, Gabe Zichermann (author of “Gamification by Design) along with the head of start up’s at Microsoft who was really excited by the Red Critter software, as well as the work Matmi has produced. Amazing!

We bumped into the famed US rapper Chamionillaire, who has been working with Big Door, and offered to make him a Matmi game, watch this space…

I’d like to say a big thanks to everyone we met with over in San Francisco I hope this is the first of many trips, and the beginning of some great new creative partnerships!”

Jeff Coghlan, CEO

Finally, next week Jeff is speaking at the Develop Conference in Brighton; we are really excited about this and hope to make it a talk with a bit of a twist…

Rolling out ROLLABEAR at MoMo Birmingham

RollaBear Screens

The guys at LAUNCH hosted the latest Mobile Monday in Birmingham yesterday where Jeff (Matmi MD) was provided the opportunity to show off Matmi’s latest in-house creation…Rollabear. We are pleased to say it received a positive reaction from the attendees. 

It has been three years in the making. Two years late. Lots of stress. Many disasters, three re-writes. 6 designers and artists, three developers, and 1 crazy boss. But finally, an end is in sight! This may just jinx it but we are looking at a June/July release.

Here’s a quick word from the man himself:

The development of Rollabear has been a great passion of mine for a long time (a looong time). Allowing me to really push my creativity and throw as many of my ideas at the team (to the sound of some groans).

I am really excited to get it released to the public. I know all of us at Matmi love it but then it’s hard not to be biased. I hopefully can stop dreaming about bears now. 

I’d like to thank the guys at LAUNCH for giving me the chance to demonstrate three years of work. There were many impressive games showcased, I was particularly impressed by “Jumping Jupingo”.

Keep your eyes open for “Rollabear" rolling round this summer to a mobile near you!

-Jeff Coghlan, Matmi MD

If you are interested in being a beta tester for Rollabear, please email or sign-up on

Rollabear Description:

Designed by the multi award winning development team at Matmi, Rollabear is a unique mobile game which requires skill and quick reactions. Hop, ride, skid, dive, fly, fall, roll in a ball and dodge your way through a magical full 3D animated world.  

Join Rollabear on his adventure around the globe, visiting 3 distinct regions.

Rollabear is an action packed physics based adventure that is insanely fun and very addictive.

No bears were hurt in the making of this game. But a few developers lost their minds. 

Looking for beta testers - get in touch either via Twitter (@Matmi), Facebook , email or sign up on

Export to “Flash in a Flash” - Unity Competition entries.

Check out the “Flash in a Flash” Unity Competition entries based on Unity3D 3.5 preview build (exporting to Flash).

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Unity Flash in a Flash contest - Gear Box

Gear Box - Unity3d

Great series of posts about creating “Gear Box” game in Unity3D for “Flash in a Flash” Unity Competition:

[ Play game here

[ Article post #1 ]

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[ Video post #5 ]

Mini Matmian:

Quite a nice little puzzle game.