This fall, Nike re-launched GRID in London, their "real world" interactive running game which originally took place this past spring in support of the London Marathon.
With the aim of getting young people to identify as "runners" versus just running in their spare time, Nike turned the city streets of London into one giant game board. Runners could register online, and then visit one of four phone booths in their postal code to dial a toll free number and get running directions to another phone booth check in depending on how far they wanted to run.
On the GRID website a leader board highlighted individuals and allowed you to compare "teams" of runners (e.g. North London vs South London or a specific post code versus another.) Over the coures of several weeks, Nike created daily competition videos featuring clever match ups like boys vs. girls and the runners vs. the tube strike. (Though in some sort of weird social media fail, their YouTube page doesn't have an avatar, and the Facebook conversation manager has gone silent...)
During the April version of GRID, Nike played at the top and bottom of the funnel - engaging loyalists in the game play while spotlighting the activity to neighborhoods at large via digital out of home calls outs to leaders in each post code and other awareness building activities.
Graeme Douglas of Wieden + Kennedy, the brains behind the operation, had this to say, "GRID is part of a growing category of ideas that sits within, as Tom Coates of Yahoo! describes, the 'real world web...connected things that blur the physical and virtual spaces--things that thrive primarily because they excite us as humans, rather than being a vehicle for demonstrating technical capability."
Overall, this sort of digital meets "IRL" meets gaming/entertainment concept seems like it could be the promised land when it comes to the true blending of mediums and interests - though I'd love to see an execution get beyond campaign think and truly sustain the experience. And oh yeah, a US version of this would rock (that is if there are any phone booths left in America...)