What Makes an Idea Viral Part 4

ILoveBees (ILB) was an alternate reality game (ARG) commissioned by Microsoft (produced by 4orty2 entertainment to increase buzz and awareness of their upcoming Halo 2 game. Like other ARG?s ILB?s Hook was its immersive online experience and the novelty of the imposition of alternate reality on actual reality. ILB players were drawn in by a sense of curiosity to solve a series of mysteries in the game?s plot, but ILB distanced itself from traditional games by blurring the lines between real life and game life (sort of like the Lost, but more aggresive). Because of this juxtaposition the game pervaded its player?s lives and created a social experience. Not only did passer?s by witness the player?s odd behavior in public as they completed various tasks often surrounding pay phones (which are almost always in high traffic areas), but the players were driven by the urge of storytelling. Stories are powerful things and the desire to share them is what gives them their power, ILB created a rich and ever-deepening story that screamed to be passed along. The Payload in the ILB campaign was the brand awareness created by the fact that characters and situations presented in the ARG were from Halo 2 and at the end of ILB (which culminated on the same day as Halo 2?s release date) players were directed to the store to buy a copy of the game. As in the Hotmail example, the payload was enacted by the contagion, which was part of the hook.