Innovative virtual water-saving mobile game delivers much-needed water to the Western Cape, and a prestigious global award to local digital mobile company
Local mobile and digital marketing company, Digitata Insights received global recognition for its innovative Smart Water Saving mobile game, developed for Unilever’s Sunlight two-in-one campaign. The company walked away with a Silver for ‘Best use of Gamification’ at the prestigious Festival of Media Global Awards gala ceremony, themed ‘Alice in Medialand’, held at the Rome Cavalieri, in Rome, Italy on 14 May.
The Festival of Media Global is the foremost congregation of high-level decision makers in the $1 trillion international advertising industry. It consists of a three-day conference and exhibition, which showcases the latest in media thinking, with insights from the world’s most prominent chief marketing officers, media executives and industry innovators, and culminates with the industry awards ceremony.
“We’re delighted to receive global recognition from such a highly respected organisation,” comments Henk Swanepoel, Chief Marketing Officer at Digitata Insights. “It is the only global awards programme that celebrates the best media campaigns from around the world and is open to anyone involved in brand communications.”
To be eligible, campaigns had to be implemented locally, regionally or globally between 1 January 2017 and 31 January 2018. Digitata Insights’s submission was the Sunlight Smart Water Savers Game, which took the form of a mobile gamification campaign.
Based on a brief received from Unilever’s leading laundry brand, Digitata Insights conceptualised and developed the Smart Water Savers Game as a means to increase brand awareness, while also aiding drought relief efforts in the Western Cape to deliver a meaningful impact to local communities and also benefit society at large.
“The game highlighted the benefits of Sunlight’s re-engineered popular 2-in-1 washing powder, which now includes a ‘smart’ foam that reduces water usage to conserve this increasingly scarce resource, along with its new lingering fragrance,” explains Swanepoel. “The technology’s resultant water savings hold direct benefits to consumers living in remote or under-served areas by cutting down on the time and effort involved in fetching water for domestic purposes, as well as to all South Africans who are being affected by drought.”
To communicate these benefits and drive further awareness around the need for water-saving measures, the Sunlight Smart Water Savers mobile campaign was designed to educate consumers about the intrinsic brand values of the product and entrench proactive water conservation through gamification.
“In essence, the Sunlight Smart Water Savers Game offered a way for people to have fun while learning how to help the country,” continues Swanepoel. To achieve this objective, Digitata Insights developed a USSD-based game that could be played on feature phones, which still constitute 60 percent of the local mobile market, in one of five South African vernacular languages. The interactive game was free to play on the two leading local mobile networks, Vodacom and MTN. A web-based solution was also developed for use on smart devices and desktops.
Using the six top tips for easy domestic water saving, players moved through a number of levels to earn points that could then be converted into airtime. “As players progressed they also collected digital buckets of water. Our MeMe mobile gaming platform automatically provided Unilever with accurate reports on the number of buckets collected, which the company then matched with an equivalent amount of portable water that was delivered to Western Cape communities,” explains Swanepoel.
“By gamifying the principles of water conservation and, in the process, encouraging people to use a water-saving product, digital and washing powder technologies worked together to embed water awareness at every level of society, and with impressive results,” he adds.
Through the combination of mobile and traditional marketing efforts, which consisted of 1,000,000 please call me messages, SMS campaigns, social media awareness, word of mouth and the process of mobile user self-discovery, Digitata Insights was able to get 425,551 consumers to start playing the game, with a 77 percent completion rate.
“Players spent an average of 10 minutes engaging with the game, with 71,864 users revisiting the game to check the live daily rain forecast and weather report, which was included as an additional gaming element,” explains Swanepoel. “More importantly, the campaign’s success ultimately had a significant social impact on the most afflicted areas in the drought stricken Western Cape, with 120,000 litres of fresh, portable water donated.”
Based on the campaign’s impact, Digitata Insights was one of only six global gamification campaigns to be shortlisted, and was the only finalist from Southern Africa in this category. The Festival of Media Global judging panel, which comprised international and regional senior media executives, agency leaders, digital innovators and creative thinkers from brands, network and independent agencies, subsequently deemed it worthy of this prestigious award.
“We’re elated with the award as it represents a peer-reviewed acknowledgement of the effectiveness of our campaign concept and mobile delivery mechanism. We were not only able to meet the client’s objectives, but also delivered results in terms of digital engagement and brand awareness that clearly impressed this panel of respected global industry figureheads,” continues Swanepoel.
“More importantly, though, the campaign entrenched new behaviours among those who engaged with the platform. This has had an indelible social impact, not only on the communities in the Western Cape that received water, but among ordinary South Africans. By improving education around the imperative need to save water, the impact of this concept will be felt for years and will hopefully help to materially change the lives of those hardest hit by the prevailing drought,” he concludes.