Friday, May 16, 2008
It seems like everything I try to do on the internet these days requires me to type in a "captcha" - a code - a sequence of numbers or a word. These captcha are always changing and distorted in some way to prevent someone from writing a computer program to read them. They are meant to prevent spam. If you don't know what I am talking about, you don't have a computer, and someone has printed this out for you to read.
What I see when I see all those squiggly letters and numbers is a missed advertising opportunity.
Why not have the letters and numbers say things? The sayings would have to rotate and be changed up weekly, but with multiple advertisers, I don't think it would be a problem to maintain the purpose of this security measure while also throwing in a little brand awareness.
Will advertisers go for it? Do you think Coke doesn't want someone not only reading, "coke smile" but also having to type it. The public won't just see the message, they will have to read it and think about it. The more I think about this, the more I think I should get some sort of advertising award for this idea.
Does this idea stop there? No. Let's take it to the next level. Let's take it to the decoder-ring-treasure-hunt level. As an example I will use myspace.com and Fox. Fox owns myspace.com
I run into tons of the captcha on myspace.com. Most of the people I know now have this security measure enabled to stop them from getting spam emails and comments. Why not have an ongoing treasure hunt? Let's call it the Fox/myspace.com "Fox Hunt." That is a cute name isn't it?
The captcha codes would be real codes that players could take and enter into a decoder at, say foxhuntgame.com or just a page on myspace.com. The player would get a clue for every code entered. I am sure Fox has the money to pay people to figure a nice puzzle for people to have to solve. The prizes would, of course, all be passes to Fox movies, discounts on Fox DVDs, T-shirts with Fox characters on them, and so on.
Players will have to go to the website and see all kinds of great banner ads for Fox movies like "What Happens in Vegas" and "The A-Team." They also enter information about them self, if they want the prize. I would let people play anonymously until they win a prize. This will make people more likely to participate. Moreover, the game encourages people to post comments and email through myspace.com. This means they will spend more time on myspace.com finding out when they are going to die and wining Xbox video game systems by deciding who should be president.
This is a great idea. Go out there, and sell your boss Tom on it.