Thirsty For the Chance to Participate in a Real Product Launch? Redd’s Apple Launcher Says Take a Virtual Seat

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What do you find at the (hazardous?) intersection of beer and tech worlds? Redd’s Apple Launcher, of course, the Internet player-steered, live machine that launches apples at targets in a remote warehouse with the chance for users to win prizes from Redd’s Apple Ale.

The game, set in a fictional bar with (at times)  zombies, hovercrafts, dunk tanks, and bears,  is active and available for play through June 14, 2013 during bar time, which somehow equates to noon – 7 p.m. ET.

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As virtual worlds, instruction, and job fairs continue to make advances in connecting people across the globe together, faster, this product launch succeeds by replacing reality-mimicking graphics and people with a real place and real people –  people who also happen to be rolling on the floor, shooting darts, and rollerblading across the screen throughout the competition.

Enter the site and you’ll be asked to connect through Facebook, then answer a basic question to earn your spot behind the apple launcher. If you are the fastest to answer the question (which is no easy task) you’ll get the shot to launch three apples and hit a target with a chance to win a prize.

How did this crazy apple game grow from a seedling mush its way in to the fruit salad of the Interwebs? Bryce Rudow of iStrategy Labs, part of the team of vendors that made the launch happen, answered a few questions about what’s behind this social machine for AllThingse.

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How did your team come up with the idea for this launch/promotion? Any inspiration from Nick Arcade?

Our partner agency, Cavalry, wanted to do something involving an Apple Launcher that tied into an episode of the Big Brain Theory on Discovery Channel where they built a homemade apple launcher. In terms of the concept of making it like a first-person shooter, that evolved from our PaintBot concept where we wanted to see what kind of social machine we could make with a paintball gun.

What kind of success has the launch seen so far? 
Our set design/concept has gone over so well that our biggest problem is that users think that it is a video game and not real life. We’ve had to incorporate more humans into the experience to dissuade that. Additionally, we’ve some  great press pickup, from both tech and beer outlets.

Why do you think the intersection of virtual and real worlds works well for the launch of a product?
Launching a product is all about getting a new name and a new branding out there. Ideally, you want as many people as possible to get their hands on the new product so that they feel comfortable using/buying it in the future, and using the universal accessibility of the internet with a real-time, real-world event is a great way of accomplishing that.

What’s been the biggest obstacle so far with running something like this?
Between the multiple agencies involved and the logistical nightmare that comes with putting on what is essentially a theatrical performance every day for 12 days straight, our devil was in the details; whether it was finance tracking, run-of-show organization, or responsibility delegations, it took OCD levels of planning to make sure nothing slipped through the cracks. We are literally putting on a play that is lasting 7 hours a day for 12 days straight.

Any advice about producing an experience like this through inexpensive means?
Use the tools you have around you. You might not be able to afford building a fully functional bar, but find an environment that is appealing. And if an Arduino-controlled pitching machine isn’t in your budget, find another way to incorporate online and offline integration. Maybe let online users direct real-live people in an environment?

Just share something cool that you haven’t yet…
Throughout the experience, there’s been running buzz from everyone here about taking advantage of the fact that we have a bar, fog machine, amazing lighting, and a great sound system and throwing a big party. The finale may be more of a celebration than even we had originally planned for…

Also, we knew we were going to destroy this bar, but we didn’t realize just how powerful this launcher is and have occasionally had to patch literal holes in the wall with plywood, 2×4′s, and spray paint.

#LaunchRedds

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