you are officially invited to create and explore the world in 2019. but be warned, it's not going to be pretty. the Institute For The Future has developed Superstruct, an ARG that aims – with a massive number of players' help – to chronicle the dark future they predict for us, then help them fix it.
Massively Multiplayer Forecasting Games (MMFGs). MMFGs are
collaborative, open source simulations of a possible future. Each MMFG
focuses on a unique set of “future parameters,” which we cull from
IFTF’s forecast research. These parameters define a future scenario: a
specific combination of transformative events, technologies,
discoveries and social phenomenon that are likely to develop in the
next 10 to 25 years. We then open up the future to the public, so that
players can document their personal reactions to the scenario."
its a fascinating concept. taking the ARG to the next level and using Surowiecki's Wisdom of Crowds to capture and identify our most likely (and most successful) responses to multiple 21st Century threats. you can join the simulation and watch videos outlining the 'superthreats' we face on the Superstruct website.
brands could learn a lot from this endeavour. at it's most basic, the IFTF – thru Superstruct – is encouraging a community of people to engage with an idea. that isn't a million miles from what most advertisers want people to do – only they generally use advertising to convey the idea. and are then a bit vague about how people can get involved; other than buy stuff of course.
but if a brand really wanted to break the mold. if a marketing team really wanted to explore and communicate something in which they believed by creating a platform thru which a community of people could genuinely engage with the idea, the brand and each other… they could. think how much more powerful M&S's Plan A campaign would have been if they had engaged with a massive community of people to explore ways to make sure we didn't have to resort to plan b. think how much more traction you could get by using media to communicate the project and report its progress.
the risks are huge. you have to be radically transparent; but most brands have to be radically transparent already. if you get it wrong no one will care; but if you get it wrong now people can filter your messages out. you have to be hyper-creative; but creativity has never been more important. you have to rely on people pro-actively and constructively contributing to the platform; but people demonstrate time and time again that this is something they're increasingly comfortable doing.
and if the risks are huge, the rewards are greater. get it right and you not only engage an audience in something your brand stands for, but your brand may even make a bit of a difference… as well as creating affinity and customer value – and therefore revenues – on the way…