Amex Fuels Rivalry Amongst Small Business Owners
If there’s one thing all small business owners have in common, it’s a competitive spirit. It’s what drives them to turn their dreams into successful small businesses, and those successful small businesses into thriving competitors in their local markets.
American Express OPEN knows what makes these small business owners tick, so for its 2014 Consumer Electronics Show activation, the credit card company created a gamification experience that brought that competitive spirit to life in an attention-getting–and lead generating–way.
The centerpiece of the experience was the Small Business Big Shot Game, an eye-catching 21-foot-tall branded tower that featured four custom-built LED-lit cubes. Each cube on the structure corresponded to a digital playing kiosk where trade show participants competed in a trivia game on touch screens (created in Adobe Air) for a chance to win an iPad Air. The LED cubes visually demonstrated each participant’s progress by moving up and down the tower with custom light animations, feeding their desire to outwit their competitors. The interactivity and visibility of the experience drove foot traffic to the OPEN booth and generated leads.
A seemingly simple concept (a multiplayer trivia game) was, in reality, quite a technological challenge. Not only did a multiplayer game have to be coded and set up in such a way that the four playing kiosks were in perfect sync, but the digital screens each had to control a physical object—the LED cubes—in perfect sync. In addition, lighting animations had to be programmed in the LED cubes, the cube height and style of movement determined and it all had to be done in a way that kept the game even and fair to play. And all of this had to run continuously, for nine hours a day, during the four-day technology tradeshow.
To support the complicated backend required to keep the trivia games working without a hitch, the team turned to a mix of custom and off-the-shelf technologies. Each cube was custom-built and attached to a track. The cubes were built with Arduino (an open-source electronics platform designed to make it easier to build interactive environments), LEDs and stepper motors, and were tied together with a Node.js server. In addition to the main playing kiosks, a practice lounge featuring a modified single-player version of the game on an iPad was set up for attendees to practice on—also coded with Adobe Air.
Thanks to the huge physical presence of the Small Business Big Shot Game tower, American Express OPEN was able to generate the traffic it needed. Thanks to the gamification technology, folks stuck around. This combined effort resulted in over 1,800 game plays and generated over 1,600 leads for OPEN—as well as 100 percent of the new card acquisition goal.