Opinion Brief

McDonald's 'ingenious' video game billboard

An interactive marketing campaign in Stockholm allows hungry pedestrians to win free food using their iPhones

The video: There's a new incentive to own an iPhone (at least if you live in Sweden): free supper. An "ingenious" new marketing campaign from McDonald's, called Pick n' Play, allows iPhone-toting pedestrians in Stockholm to wirelessly interact with a giant billboard, and win a free meal. The game of choice? Pong. The idea is pretty simple: Hungry gamers visit a website that uses a geolocation system to confirm they are close enough to the billboard to play. After choosing which Mickey D's item they'd like to compete for, the user faces off against a computer in a round of the classic arcade game. The whole thing is beamed live onto the giant screen, which has typically drawn a huge crowd. (Watch a video below.) If the player lasts 30 seconds, a digital voucher is sent to their phone, and can be redeemed a nearby store.

The reaction: It's refreshing to see marketing ideas that really "engage customers," says Brian Osborne at Geek.com. Yes, "hats off to McDonald's," says Niall Harbison at The Next Web, for creating one of the most "interactive and engaging" marketing campaigns "that we've seen in a long time." But getting more customers into McDonald's may not be a good thing, says Amar Toor at Engadget. Congrats, gamers. You get a "free, lipid-drenched" treat that puts you "one step closer to that coronary you've always wanted." Check it out:

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