Lending a bit of humor to the daunting tax season and promoting its TaxCut while doing so, H&R Block has launched Deduct-a-Buck, a seventies-style game show-like game hosted by Max Refund. The game consists of five questions relating to the kinds of thing one can deduct when filing taxes. Prizes range from a Dell XPS Notebook, to a $100 GameStop gift certificate to free online tax preparation. Created by Mullen, the game is both humorous and comforting to what's on the mind of everyone as April 15 approaches and we all struggle to please Uncle Sam.
Japanese footwear company Onitsuka Tiger, known as ASICS in the States, has launched an online karaoke game, Lovely Football, in support of the company's new football (soccer) shoe Injector DX. On the site, the Onitsuka Tiger National Choir performs and after viewing the competition, visitors can sing along with the choir karaoke style and enter their performance in a contest to win a pair of Injector DX or other Onitsuka Tiger goodies.
This year, there seems to be a fascination with the flushing of toilets during halftime. Like the obsession with national toilet flush stats following M*A*S*H, Scott tissue will leverage the notion that all 90 million Super Bowl viewers will collectively go to the bathroom at the same time with the launch of Halftime Flush, a site touting the dissolvability of Scott toilet paper. On the site, Mike Ditka lends his intense convicibility to Scott's superior toilet tissue and a game allows visitors to match toilets to their flushing sounds. OK, so bathroom humor is always a good standby but we like VIA's simpler approach to the whole halftime flush thing.
Heineken, the official beer sponsor of The 48th Annual GRAMMY Awards, is launching their second nationwide advertising campaign on Internet jukeboxes throughout the United States on Ecast's interactive jukebox network. The campaign will run on 4400 broadband-enabled jukeboxes in bars and taverns throughout the country. The campaign features a Heineken micro-site, downloadable collections of music from Grammy-winning artists, and a Heineken-branded trivia game.
The Internet has done many wonderful things but it's also enabled some elaborate, not completely above board marketing efforts such is the insertion of geographically targeted Subway ads into an online game without the knowledge of Valve, the game's creator. Read the convoluted story and the intricate chain of agencies and vendors involved in this campaign which, while Valve wasn't happy about it, was an admirable effort, legal issues aside.
It takes a lot to amuse us but this game promoting job site dice.com did the trick. It's the classic "your boss sucks" game where you get to take out your aggression following a bosses cocky, buzz-word laden tirade. Don't miss the pizza launcher in the Project manager's office.
Random Culture points to Disaffected, an anti-advergame of sorts in that, rather than lauding a brand, it pokes fun at a brand. It was created by Persuasive Games to show distaste for the apparent lack of competence displayed by FedEx Kinko's workers. As described on Persuasive's site, "Disaffected! gives the player the chance to step into the demotivated position of real FedEx Kinkos employees. Feel the indifference of these purple-shirted malcontents first-hand, and consider the possible reasons behind their malaise - is it mere incompetence? Managerial affliction? Unseen but serious labor issues?"
While there are plenty of brand hate sites out there, Persuasive Games created the game to demonstrate that all advergames don't have to be all about brand love. We haven't played the game nor do we know if this is a first but we do like the idea. Gotta love dissent.
Candy maker Jelly Belly has launched an advergame called Taste the Mystery visitors can play after entering an access code found on select packages of Jelly Belly containing a mystery jelly bean. ON the site, the visitor then guesses the flavor of the new bean, play games, snag wallpaper and send e-cards. Winners of the contest are eligible to win $100,000, a Mini Cooper and/or an iPod shuffle. That might make the game worth playing.
Placing the code on packaging does a nice job of driving sales even though, as with any sweeps, no purchase is necessary. But, similar to frustrating rebate procedures, entrants who wish to play but not purchase have to do a little extra work by sending in the proverbial self-addressed postage stamped envelope with a handwritten note requesting a code. Much easier to just by a bag. Anyway, we like the promo. Los Angeles-based Zugara created the original artwork, concepting and animation for the site.
Hostway, the hosting company that brought us Bob's Cube has, with the help of Fifteen Letters, created another cube-like online environment called Leroy the Hand which features, yes, a talking hand. Apparently, talking hand Leroy Koslowski is an under appreciated sibling of a famous advertising icon who has found success becoming the spokeshand for Hostway. There's all sorts of things to check out in Leroy's room including videos of how he started his career, self-help books for hands, a memory book with all sorts of hand-related stuff, a book manuscript, a rock paper scissors game, a GE Pen-like drawing board where visitors can create a drawing and view other's drawings, a link to Bob's Cube of course and some unintentional product placements. It kept us busy for a while and that's saying a lot.
Mennen has hooked up with Maxim to promote its Speed Stick deodorant with a series of whack videos illustrating the extreme dedication certain people have to certain sports. One guy is freakishly into ping pong and another goes nuts for air hockey. In December, we'll meet a wiffle ball freak. The videos are imbued with a nonchalant, "this is so normal" tone that seems to work. The site also has an online air hockey game and a chance to win a VIP sports weekend. As is required with anything Maxim and sports related, the site also carries the ubiquitous images of the dream girl hottie for viewing pleasure.