There are many ways to try and boost publicity for your company: advertising, word-of-mouth and offers are all great examples, but Virgin Trains have decided to go for something a little different and use Google Street View. This means that they are offering you the chance to shoot up zombies on your own local street as part of their ‘Don’t Go Zombie’ campaign.
The focal point of this campaign is an innovative Google Street View game which sets you walking through routes across any UK streets armed with a Virgin Trains ticket machine (read gun) where at regular intervals along your journey through the real street-view world you can save (read shoot) the “mindless motorist zombies” and humanise them before transporting them onto a Virgin train (read kill).
Whilst this is all very PC (I can’t imagine any company rushing to put their name to Left 4 Dead-esque gore) it is still quite fun — and worryingly addictive — something that is mostly down to the fact that there is something quite novel about the ability to play a game on your own streets especially if it involves shooting, I mean ‘ticketing’, zombies!
But if the fact that this is one of the first games to use interaction with Google Street View (UK) wasn’t enough, there is also the ability to link it up with Facebook: if caught by the slowly advancing zombie motorists you can get your Facebook profile picture ‘zombified’ to create a zombie avatar that is the launched into the game. You than then attempt to canvas support from your friends by asking them to ‘rescue you’ although the blatant advertising on the part of Virgin Trains may put quite a few people of this.
Annerie Hughes, Head of Marketing, Virgin Trains said: “The new ‘Don’t Go Zombie’ campaign encapsulates our vision of liberating travellers from the drudgery of mind numbing car journeys. We’re very proud to have created an exciting new interactive Google Street View game, which I’m sure will help increase usage of our trains as well as driving further awareness of the brand.”
This is all a very nice piece of advertising for Virgin, but the really interesting part of all of this is the manner in which they have used Google Street View and the possibility that this kind of interaction entails. Of course at the current moment in time the quality Street View is not enough to generate anything above the flash quality of this example, but could it be feasible that in the future with better and possibly 3D Street View cameras we could be playing things like the GTA games on real streets?
To me that is the really exciting part of all of this campaign and whilst it is very nice advertising on the part of Virgin (their game got them here on Zath for example) the real fun is perhaps more the ability to “ticket” zombies in your street rather than riding on Virgin Trains… although I can’t imagine this will do their ticket sales any harm at all.