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Computer Spiele Museum / Console(ation) Prize

by Contagious I/O

This story originally appeared on Contagious I/O, our intelligence tool featuring the most creative and effective ideas in marketing from around the world

German museum turns radio advert into a key that unlocks an online game

The Computer Spiele Museum (Computer Game Museum) in Berlin included a signal in its radio ad that could unlock a video game.

The History Worth Playing campaign was created with DDB Spain and adapted the 35-year-old technology used in the ZX Spectrum gaming console.

Radio ads for the museum asked listeners to record a pulse noise and then use that sound to access a game through the campaign site. The process mirrored the ZX Spectrum’s loading mechanism, which used a cassette recording to communicate binary code through pulses of different widths.

Once on the site, visitors could replay the sound to load the museum’s game onto their computer. Or, if they were feeling really nostalgic, they could play the game on their ZX Spectrum console using the same recording.

Those without a recording could still access a different computer game on the site. This Museum Guide game is an interactive guide of the museum interspersed with challenges, and players who navigate through it to find three Easter eggs (including a special code) could enter a competition to win a private tour of the museum and access to its extensive game archive.

The campaign was also promoted with posters across the city that showed visual of the game code – another way to download it.

Contagious Insight /

Tapping nostalgia / Not only does this campaign use a similar mechanic to an 8-bit gaming console from the 1980s, it has even made the game playable on it. The noise that is played through the radio ads (you can hear it in the video above) is distinct, and something that anyone who is familiar with the ZX Spectrum would recognise.

With its 35-year anniversary on 23 April, the ZX Spectrum is having a bit of a moment. Last year, an Indiegogo campaign to fund a modern version of the console beat its £100,000 ($122,000) funding goal by 367%, which gives a good idea of the interest around it (update: the creators have since been blocked from raising anymore money on Indiegogo because of failures to deliver and a lack of communication with backers).

Eighties' kids are now in their 40s, so typically have enough disposable income to use their wallets to reminisce. As TheGuardian reported: ‘A growing nostalgia for the Eighties may help explain why other defunct technologies and formats are also making a comeback…Global vinyl album sales have surpassed the 9 million mark for the first time in 20 years. The SodaStream is enjoying a renaissance. Top of the Pops is rumoured to be making a return on Friday nights.’ The Computer Spiele Museum is clever to take advantage of it.

Rewarding passion / Visitors to the campaign site who completed the Museum Game had the chance to win access to the museum’s private archive of over 30,000 games. So, those that spent time with the game, proving their interest in exactly what the museum has to offer, were eligible for a reward.

Those less interested - perhaps drawn in by the unusual beeping noise on their radio - would also get a taste of what the museum was all about, which could give them a reason to visit.



This story originally appeared on Contagious I/O, our intelligence tool featuring the most creative and effective ideas in marketing from around the world. I/O helps anyone in the world of marketing understand why brands are innovating, how they're doing it and with what success.

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