Gamification 101: Rock, Paper, Skittles

Last week we posted on how brands can use games, rather than internal polls, to help improve the product development processes and create better marketing/PR campaigns with the public’s input. Today we bring you a much more “traditional” example of branded gaming or “gamification”: the “Rock, Paper, Skittles” project from Mars partner Catapult RPM.

In order to promote the popular candy line’s new “Originals” bags–which come complete with a “green apple” flavor to replace the classic “lime” variety–the company created a social/digital version of the simple “rock, paper, scissors” distraction enjoyed by children and drunk co-eds around the world.

Skittles, which describes its digital properties as “An endless color stream of bite-sized content”, organized the game and related contest as follows: Fans visit the URL and enter their favorite color into a round of “rock, paper, Skittles” by either taking a photo via webcam or manually choosing the color they want. Each participant will then face off against another random player armed with his or her own piece of candy.

After every pairing, one victorious sugar junkie gets a chance to participate in the larger sweepstakes. The ultimate winner of that contest will take home $50,000 and, more importantly, a “Skittles-dispensing championship belt” (which we take to be something like the world’s largest, coolest Pez dispenser).

It’s certainly a creative campaign, though press materials don’t offer any explanation as to why orange beats green or green beats purple.

Didn’t The Artist Currently Known as Prince teach us that purple beats all other colors, hands down?