WORDLE hit the internet last October and quickly became an internet phenomenon. WORDLE seemed to hit every mark when it came to creating an addictive experience and it’s launch into popularity can teach creatives a thing or two about how to produce an immersive and successful marketing or advertising campaign.
There are nearly 200 million gamers in the U.S alone and these gamers are spending increasingly more time each day playing mobile games. 2021 figures estimate that the average U.S. adult over the age over 30 spends 20 minutes or more playing a mobile game each day (www.statisa.com). With the clear popularity of gaming among consumers, how can a simple game like WORDLE teach professionals how to make advertising and marketing fun? By keeping these three brain gratifying practices in mind: Gamification, connection and nostalgia.
WORDLE is an uncomplicated and interactive game that should teach marketers and advertisers that if you are responsible for selling something, the least you can do is make it fun! When advertising to your audience, there are benefits to offering your clientele the option to “play” or engage with your content vs. being forced to watch.
“Gamifying” your content can be as simple as offering your digital advertisement in the form of a answerable question, having customers “spin” a wheel for a special offer or going as far to run a branded game campaign. Your advertisement becomes more than a message and morphs into a reward.
WORDLE is also unique in highlighting just how far scarcity can go when it comes to creating an engaged audience. In the US alone there are more than 300,000 players of WORDLE daily (www.morningconsult.com). The function of scarcity is inherently built into the game (only played once a day). The choice to navigate to the WORDLE page and then the resulting ceaselessness when the puzzle is solved creates a maddening addiction for players.
How does one gamify a marketing strategy? Maybe it’s by implementing a contest or giveaway into the mix. By offering consumers the choice to enter and create actionable steps that users have to take in order to enter, content feels fun and provides an extra jolt of excitement than a standard digital advertisement.
When it comes to advertising, resisting the urge to be pushy can be tough – but there is value in offering consumers the choice to engage and can result in boosting client relationships and enhancing brand association.
Our world has changed dramatically over the last two years, and one thing is for certain: people are craving connection.
The aspect of sharing WORDLE on social media between players, is responsible for the games fast and wide reach throughout North America. 43% of people who play the game in the USA heard about it through friends or family who shared the mysterious green, beige, and grey blocks on social media platforms like Facebook (www.morningconsult.com).
Wordle created a conversation that gave people a reason to reach out to one another, whether to talk about its launch to fame, or to compete against each other.
How does one create a conversation around a product in a marketing campaign?
Let’s say you see your favourite influencer on Instagram starting a conversation around a particular product that you’ve been thinking about using. It would peak your interest, wouldn’t it? It might even make you share the content with a friend who’d also been considering the product. This is a spiral effect and boom – the Dyson Hair Wrap has gone viral on Tik Tok.
If your brand can create dialogue and the need for consumers to reach out to one another, your buzz can build organically!
All demographics react to advertising campaigns that illicit an emotional response, but Millennials seem to be especially receptive when it comes to promotions that bolster nostalgia. When you can successfully connect a new product, brand, or creative campaign to something from the past you’re successfully reinforcing memory structure, which can be comforting and reassuring to consumers.
How many people re-watch their favourite TV shows over and over? A lot.
Maybe the reason why 26% of WORDLE players are millennials is because it ignited memories of playing childhood favourites like: Scrabble, Sudoku, or Yahtzee. Wordle in a sense re-invented the Sunday paper crossword — again, reinforcing memory structure and capturing what John Bartle calls “imaginative repetition.” This idea of imagined repetition can be important for advertising and marketing campaigns where an opportunity lies to play on foundational childhood memories (www.forbes.com).
Another successful example of imaginative repetition is when the show Squid Game went viral. The branding of the television show was important and included a circle, triangle, square. This iconography seemed oddly familiar, and of course it was – these symbols play off Sony PlayStation’s branding with the same images (www.builtbybright.com). Clever right? There is this definite powerplay when advertisers create something that is new, but feels familiar.
At the end of the day, creating advertising and marketing campaigns that feel like a reward, ignite a happy memory, and bolsters social currency when in conversational situations can be incredibly powerful when in the creative planning processes of a campaign. If working with an agency who stays connected with current trends, while also maintaining links to “what works” is important to you, reach out to one of our media specialists at Rose Wagner Media.