Brand Game of the Month: OREO: Twist, Lick, Dunk
by Irene Enriquez
Twist. Link. Dunk.
Oreo’s tag line is something that everyone can never forget. Whether you’re a toddler or a 40-year old man with a full beard, you just know what to do with an Oreo.
The Oreo brand has a pretty strong presence in the traditional media: TV, radio and print. However, the company continues to evolve. It has now a bunch of game titles available online, on Google Play and the App Store.
We played the game to give it a try. After all, we at Pixelkit are always on the lookout for cool games. Not just games to play personally, but brand games as well. As a game development studio creating games for brands, we want to know what’s out there and how we can continue on improving our own games.
So, this month, let’s talk about Oreo’s game: Twist, Link and Dunk. As of this writing, the app has been installed one to five million times. It has an average rating of 4.0.
The main strength of the game is its extremely strong branding. From the title to the gameplay, you just know that it’s an Oreo game. This is no surprise, however, as Oreo always had a strong branding no matter what platform. I remember its commercial when I was a kid. Even now that I’m a grown up, I still do the twist-link-dunk thingy from time to time.
All these branding identities have been translated well in the game. The game developer was able to merge Fruit Ninja’s gameplay to Oreo’s main branding but with a twist! Instead of fruits, what appears on the screen are the Oreo cookies. Instead of slicing the cookies like a ninja, you twist the cookies by swiping from one side; you lick them by swiping to the other side. Finally, instead of letting the cookies splatter, you dunk it to the glass of milk on the lower left side of the screen.
Honestly, it’s a bit more challenging than Fruit Ninja. The dunking part takes a bit of practice. The players are rewarded by earning coins. Coins can be used to open new locations and unlock power ups.
Despite its simplicity, the game is surprisingly very engaging, much like Fruit Ninja.
However, the cotton-candy feeling immediately fades away when the ads start popping up. After finishing one round of a game, a video ad shows up. Just like on YouTube, you have to wait five seconds before you can skip the ad. What’s shocking, most of all, is that you have to pay to unlock other locations. Usually, if we’re playing a brand game, we have the impression that it’s completely free. After all, the goal is to keep players playing. The more they play the game, the more they get exposed to your brand. Eventually, it will lead to a purchase; ultimately, it will lead to customer loyalty.
Based on my experience, however, I was quite annoyed with all the ads. Also, asking me to pay to unlock other locations was pushing it. The player experience turned a bit sour for an otherwise sweet brand. While I loved the gameplay, I think it’s ingenious, I won’t be playing the game for very long. The video ads are disruptive. Plus, my progress depends on me letting go of my hard-earned cash.
We don’t know for sure, but it seems Oreo is more concerned with earning money from the game instead of using it to engage with its customers. Perhaps, if we get the chance, we could interview Oreo and understand the marketing objectives behind the game.
What do you think should be the main goal of a brand when creating a game?