I received an e-mail yesterday from Premiere Speakers Bureau. They were having a contest to see who could find the phony speaker in their catalog. To determine which was phony, you had to review the catalog, its index and the Bureau's website (because the phony speaker would only be in the catalog). Those that locate the phony speaker are entered into a drawing for prizes.
At first glance,I thought this was lame (I must admit I'm a skeptic on anything looking gimmicky). However, I actually think they might be on to something. With so much information bombarding us all, it is hard to get the attention of readers. A little game/contest like this just might be the little boost that's needed to 1) keep your e-mail message from being deleted (heck, I read it and I don't even book speakers) and 2) get your target to actually read (or at least skim) your full set of materials. It won't work for all your readers, but will anything?
The idea could easily be applied to an association's website, on-line bookstore or catalog of courses. But, what about using it to get people to view instructional videos or read application manuals or guides. Would the "game" distract from the readers ability to absorb the material? My gut says it would work best when your goal is awareness not instruction, but who knows. Getting someone to skim something is better than nothing! At least they would be aware that it's there, for when they're really interested. Anyone tried something like this?