Created by Swivel Media, Wells Fargo has launched a pilot multi-player, online role-playing game, called Stagecoach Island, designed to educate young adults about the importance of knowing your finances. Currently the game is being deployed in San Diego and Austin and will role out nationally later this year. We have a video preview here.
The game allows players to select a virtual character and participate in an "island adventure." Participants can choose to explore the virtual island -- lush parks, hip cafes, dance clubs, trendy shops, amusement parks, hair salons and more. They can also interact in dozens of virtual, social situations -- like skydiving, riding jets-skis, or playing games like paintball with other participants. Many activities on the island are "free," but participants gain access to other experiences, such as dancing in a club or purchasing new clothes, by spending, saving and earning virtual money. Players can earn money by visiting the Virtual Learning Lounge and answering trivia questions about banking basics such as budgeting, saving and managing money. The Learning Lounge content is derived from Wells Fargo's signature financial literacy program, Hands on Banking.
Having fun with the whole metrosexual trendlet, Virgin Atlantic Airways announced that nominations for its ongoing Jetrosexual Awards will close this Friday, September 16. Apparently, hundreds of people have nominated their metro/jetrosexual friends since the program launched in June. The program seeks the ultimate Boston and Washington D.C. area entrepreneur and will award the Bostonian and DCist that best personifies the Jetrosexual spirit. Virgin Atlantis says the awards celebrate a "new emerging business culture lead by a growing group of Jetrosexuals, those high fliers who move business and culture forward each and every day."
The nomination site includes a list of 11 Jetrosexual Commandments including "Thou shalt be able to order a beer in at least six different languages" and "Thou shalt respect the five minute rule when using the lavatory." Local semi-finalists will be announced on September 30, 2005, be reviewed by a selection committee with final awards announced October 17, 2005. The winner will enjoy a high flying, Virgin Atlantic Upper Class experience to London.
The Web Marketing Association has announced the winners of its ninth annual WebAward Competition for website development. Out of 2,100 site submitted from 33 countries, Atlanta-based IQinteractive won Best of Show for its work on the National Geographic Inside the Mafia site which was also awarded the Best Entertainment WebAward. LA-based Zugara was named Top Agency, taking home 20 awards, the most any single organization has won in the nine years of the awards. The agency won Best Music site for Red Bull Music Labs, 11 Outstanding and eight Standard of Excellence WebAwards.
To promote the upcoming Tim Burton movie, The Corpse Bride, Boston-based Pod Design has created not one but three online microsites. Adverblog points to Post Mortem where you can ask the dead questions Ouigi board-style; Bonymail where you can create messages from the dead to send to your friends; and Sept23 where you can view a scary video of a graveyard and a quick trailer for the movie. It's all nice, quick and simple - just the way we like our virals.
We think we've just stumbled upon one of the most enjoyable, most addictive and most entrancing online games in a very long time. Random Culture notes Saab UK has launched Race Against Time, an online "choose your own adventure" game, similar to the recently launched Choose Your Sauce KFC game, in which players take a Saab for a timed drive having to make multiple decisions upon the way. From deciding to stop for gas or not, ask directions or guess, give a stranger a ride or not, and more, the game sucks the player in and keeps the interest high. Very nice work created by Draft London which designed, shot, wrote and produced the site.
Following the launch of Curious and timed, perhaps, to refocus attention away from tawdry, marriage/pregnancy news coverage, Britney Spears will launch a new Elizabeth Arden fragrance called Fantasy Britney Spears. Which, intriguingly, is exactly what the girl needs right now to whisk her away from the less than glamorous aspects of real life. Adrants reader Chris Peterson points us to the launch site which doesn't contain much more than Flash-y imagery and a form to sign up and receive messages about the product.
To promote its new Motorola ROKR phone which adds 100 song 1Tunes capability, Cingular has launched a microsite, called Make Me Dance, which allows visitors to select a character, select a song, make it dance, then send it to a friend. It's a weak version of the Wedding Crasher's Trailer Crashers promotion which allowed visitors to place their their own image and images of their friends on the faces of characters in the movie trailer which could then be sent to friends. With Cingular's Make Me Dance, visitors can upload their own images but the resulting dance can not be sent to a friend. Odd. The whole thing's designed to convince people a cell phone that can hold a whopping 100 songs is somehow a viable option to the usual 3-5,000 song MP3 player. Hitachi, where are we when we need you?
In early August, we told you Coke had embarked on an "experiential" marketing concept that would, as Ad Age wrote, "interpret what the marketer calls the brand's 'optimism' through a series of short films and breakthrough bottle designs." The project, called M5, involved five design shops which each created "iconic" designs that would affect packaging and other branding elements and were designed to increase appeal to younger generations. Well, the marketing masturbation is complete and the "experiential" designs have launched. Without dispute, the work is great but we're not much for phoofy, frilly, flashy fluff. When we're thirsty and want a Coke, we don't really care what container it comes in. That's just us though. The hipster crowd...that's another story.
Especially enjoyable is the sultry blather that, upon clicking the bottle in the lower right corner of the site, coos gushingly from within and explains the genesis behind the endeavor, oozing, "An icon is transformed..." Oh don't listen to us. The whole thing's pretty cool. The project was created by The Ebeling Group, Hybrid, and the Rock and Roll Agency. Armchair Media created the Website.
While trawling for his daily feed tube of crucial gossip, Bucky Turco spotted a banner for HBO which promotes comedian Ali G's show. The banner, which only expands if you have Internet Explorer (what's up with you designers" Have you heard half the world uses Firefox now?), allows you to begin a live chat. Unfortunately, there seems to be no responses from Ali G. Perhaps he's too busy making foreign politicians look dumb but you'd think there'd at least be some sort of automated response. Bucky points out Ali G's vocabulary is like no others and the designers, at least, could programmed in some automated verbal gems for our amusement. Let's hope the banner's just broken, will be fixed soon and the agency doesn't get fired.
UPDATE: Apparently, it's been fixed.
FOX has acquired IGN Network for $650 million. IGN will be placed within the FOX Interactive Media segment of the company and will bolster the company's growth into the Internet medium.