Laura Pevehouse Thomas

Gamification of Green Stamps and So Much More


S&H_Green_StampsI remember Green Stamps! It used to be my job as a little kid to lick and stick ‘em all into those little collection books. Oh, wait. That’s not the green stamps they’re talking about in this AdAge article.

It describes Procter & Gamble’s Future Friendly program that aims to create incentives for people to sign up for a sort of electronic “green stamps” that give points redeemable for merchandise when they recycle through curbside collection programs.

While the term social gaming brings to mind the story a friend of mine told about how she found herself yelling at the public pool for her kids to get out because Mom had to go home and harvest her Farmville potatoes, and everyone seems to be throwing birds at pigs lately, these type of “addictive games” are only part of what’s happening.

Whether it’s stamps for recycling, MVP designation for community participation or badges for checking in at locations you visit, it’s hard to get away from the integration of game theory into social media today.

Some would use the term gamification to describe it, but that in itself has raised a controversy recently - with the Wikipedia entry for it being taken down, then re-posted. David Helgason of Unity, a company that produces game development tools explains gamification as the application of game technology and game design outside “gamespace.” 

Whatever you call it, it’s every where these days. The Learning and Entertainment Evolution Forum recently announced that the changing nature of games, simulations and virtual worlds on work and education would be their theme for 2011.

Should businesses rush to apply social mechanics Alexia Tsotsis recently asked in a TechCrunch article? “It’s just natural evolution,” said Disney Mobile SVP Bart Decrem. Tsotisis wrote that businesses developing a product should ask themselves, how the product could let you connect with your friends and make it fun.

Those old S&H Green Stamps are evolving that way even. They’re now known as greenpoints that you earn by shopping various merchants (including my employer, Dell) through the Greenpoints web site. I didn’t see a lot of ways to share the experience with your friends, but you can follow them on Twitter!

What do you think? Is there a point where there could be too much fun? Will we burn out trying to earn gold stars or are humans forever motivated by rewards like Pavlov’s dog? (who has also apparently been “gamified“)

Image courtesy Roadsidepictures via Creative Commons.

3 comments on “Gamification of Green Stamps and So Much More

  1. Pingback: Twitter Trackbacks for LPT » Blog Archive » Gamification of Green Stamps and So Much More [iabc.com] on Topsy.com

  2. I don’t think there will ever be “to much fun” when it comes to integrating games into social media or for that matter our daily lives. Let’s take a look at past forms of media. My friend Adam Day was a apart of a bingo game that was printed in News papers to help increase sales and it tied in with local stores. The was 1964 so that was a game in the Social Media of that day. From there you have radio contest and thins like that again its a game embedded in a form of media. We will never get tired of being entertained. In fact I will say that this is the only way to move from this point forward. We have some many ways of silencing marketing that if it does not entertain me I won’t pay attention. Just like meta games in any form of media I consume. Thats my thoughts :

    twitter: @tallgamer
    Donald Harris

  3. Games target a specific percentage of the consumer audience. We see a 5% to 24.5% increase in participation with Newspaper Bingo (R) for a newspapers circulation. We have distributed up to 3 Million game cards in a single promotion, and average roughly 1000 game cards per merchant per week participating. This has been a consistent range of participation over the years and is dependent how the promotional program is supported internally through the media and retailers. Anytime you have the combination of sponsorship, game play, determining a winner and reward you have a winning combination. New technologies have facilitated a broader reach and created new ways of engaging consumer audience. Moving forward with gamification U.S. Patent # 6,749,511. http://www.retailpromotions.com

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