Why Goldfish made a game about poor attention spans

Who: Campbell Soup Company, with Zulu Alpha Kilo for strategy, creative and production, and Spark Foundry for media.

What: The “Goldfish Focus Faceoff Lens,” an augmented reality game on Snapchat that rewards players with discounts for the new Kravin’ Ketchup Goldfish flavour.

When & Where: The lens is being featured on Snapchat’s Lens Carousel this week, and will be on Snapchat for the rest of the month.

Why: To launch its new Ketchup flavoured cracker, Campbell’s was looking for ways to raise awareness and encourage trial. “The primary target for the lens are teens, we want to connect with them in new and interesting ways to build a connection between them and Goldfish Flavour Blasted Kravin’ Ketchup,” said Mariah Weir, manger media and digital platforms at Campbell.

The problem is that many young people have short attention spans, and what little attention they have is often directed to social media.

“We never want to just interrupt consumers with our message and be a nuisance,” said Brian Murray, executive creative director at Zulu Alpa Kilo. “So in this case, by turning our ad into a game, we are giving consumers a fun experience in exchange for their time.“

How: The underlying idea for the game is the claim that humans have become so distracted in the age of digital media that their attention span has shrunk to that of a goldfish. (That claim has largely been debunked, but it’s a pretty good fit for Goldfish crackers, soooo…..)

The Lens/game asks users to focus on a falling Goldfish cracker for nine-seconds—the supposed attention span of a goldfish—as distractions and notifications pop up around it.

The game uses Snapchat’s eye-tracking technology to measure focus and the longer players can focus on the fish, the better the score.

“When the user is finished playing with the lens, they receive a coupon code to share with their parents for a discounted bag of Goldfish Flavour Blasted Kravin’ Ketchup to encourage trial,” said Weir.

“Basically, we made it fun for people to stare at the product for as long as they can,” added Murray.

The lens was developed by Zulu Alpha Kilo’s in-house production arm Zulubot, which has been an official Snapchat production partner since June. Zulubot has developed 13 different Snapchat projects for nine different brands since then.

David Brown