Pongr, a game that allows you to share how you interact with your favorite brands on a daily basis, is one of my new social media obsessions. In the game, you are “employed” by a brand and can move up the ranks from an intern to CEO, with 19 levels in between. Texting or emailing pictures of your interactions with a brand, sharing the pictures on Facebook and Twitter and recruiting friends to work for the brand can all help you be “promoted” to a higher position. As a public relations student I was excited to discover that as you near the coveted CEO position, you also need to create marketing ideas for the brand in order to be promoted.
I first learned about Pongr at a Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) meeting at Boston University this May. The university’s PRSSA president told us that she had leveraged the game to become the virtual CEO of Verizon. She explained that she not only had the opportunity to chat with a high level executive from Verizon whom she still keeps in touch with, but received a free Android phone for playing the game. I was sure that Pongr would be just another social media trend that I would get bored with in a few days (I lasted for about 3 hours on Foursquare), but decided to give it a try. To my surprise, I was hooked and so were many of my friends.
While the basic premise of the game is fun in itself, I was thrilled to see how I could actually cash in on it. Pongr has an online store that allows you to exchange Pongr rewards points for real prizes. From $500 American Express gift cards to flat screen televisions to an iPad 2, these rewards aren’t a gimmick. Each major brand has an online store showing exactly how many Pongr points you need to purchase an item. While I haven’t accumulated enough points to win anything big yet (my tiny international phone doesn’t even take pictures!), I’m hoping to earn the 6,750 points needed from Starbucks (Edelman client) to win a new digital camera soon.
Not only does the game make me appreciate and notice the brands I’ve started “working for” even more, to my surprise it’s actually started to influence my purchasing decisions. Why go to McDonalds when I can take a picture of my Subway turkey wrap and earn more points on Pongr! I could shop at a department store, but shopping for clutches at Michael Kors gives me so many great photo opportunities for my Pongr account.
Images Source: www.pongr.com
What I love about Pongr is how easy and fun it is. I have always been extremely brand loyal (I would rather drink water if it’s not Starbucks), and Pongr gets me even more excited about the brands I love. Even better, becoming a high level executive or CEO on Pongr could lead to a connection with people at the actual company and possibly even a job opportunity. I have to admit if I had read this on the website without actually knowing someone who it had happened to I wouldn’t have believed it.
Many companies reward people who frequently tweet about a company, realizing how important word of mouth is in creating a positive image for a brand. Pongr takes this one step further, giving brands an easy and interactive way to reward and connect with their existing brand ambassadors and encourage them to become even more involved with the brand. Ultimately, this is the kind of publicity companies need. Real people spreading their genuine love for a brand.
So head to pongr.com and start sharing the love for the brands you can’t live without! Or at least start taking notice of how much they affect us.