Highlighting Student Research: Gamification in Advertising
This story is part of a short series highlighting student research that was presented at the University of Findlay’s 2023 Symposium for Scholarship and Creativity (SSC).
Competitiveness and status drive people to do things that they wouldn’t normally do. Companies use this to incorporate common game elements into their marketing strategies, boosting user engagement and driving conversations. Pursuing his MBA at the University of Findlay, Alexander Bouhlel explored the world of marketing and gamification at the 2023 Symposium when he presented his research “Creative Marketing Strategies – Gamification in Advertising.”
“Most of the work I am usually doing is not very creative. I wanted to take this opportunity to do something different, and as soon as I found and read about gamification, I knew this would be the perfect topic for me,” said Bouhlel. He dove into the research and quickly found that gamification is everywhere from car dealerships mailing scratch-offs giving people the chance to win discounts, to coffee shops providing rewards programs. “Gamification is a topic with much wider application possibilities than I thought. It is found in our everyday life.”
Gamification can be as blatantly obvious as companies allowing you to play games in their apps or playing video games to learn more about a particular military branch. An example of this would include a fast-food restaurant allowing you to play a game on their app where you swipe away shrimp falling from the sky in an effort to advertise the restaurant’s new line of battered shrimp with reward vouchers for participants. Another example of obvious gamification is the U.S. Army using first-person gaming with “America’s Army: Proving Grounds,” allowing gamers to try out group tactics that prioritize working together with squads.
At the same time, Bouhlel found that some gamification is less obvious. Take for example apps like Wordle and Snapchat, which allow people to showcase their streaks (number of consecutive days people are completing tasks on the apps). If a person doesn’t log in, they lose their streaks, and the status is gone. The competitiveness and status of streaks keep people coming back.
Loyalty programs, punch cards, and virtual badges keep people coming back to earn more rewards and free items. Companies like Starbucks, Kroger, as well as small local businesses challenge and encourage people to keep coming back to earn more rewards and discounts. These tactics help drive ongoing engagement.
Bouhlel had the opportunity to share his research with community members, faculty, and classmates during the University of Findlay’s 2023 Symposium for Scholarship and Creativity on April 14th. “Being able to present such work not only allows us to share the work and results we worked towards in endless hours, but this also provides the chance to get some sort of public recognition, which is always a good thing.”