Monday, March 2, 2009


The other day I found myself trying to explain ARGs to my co-workers.

GREG: Maybe we could do some kind of ARG.

Blank stares.

GREG: Have you heard of ARGs?

CO-WORKER 1: Sorry?

It stands for Alternate Reality Game.

Sounds like a video game.

GREG: No. It's a huge experience for the participants. People are running all over the place looking for clues.

CO-WORKER 3: Sounds like a scavenger hunt.

GREG: No. There are hints, riddles you have to solve, places you have to go. You can participate online. It's really cool stuff.

CO-WORKER 1: Sounds like a very elaborate scavenger hunt.

So I'm not very good at explaining ARGs.

At Y&R Chicago, we had some really talented planners who would regularly create single-page news sheets about the latest trends and post them in the bathrooms stalls and above the urinals. We'd get band reviews from SxSW, shots and descriptions of Chicago Auto Show displays, and, of course, explanations of what an ARG is. (I miss having really amazing stuff to read when I go to the bathroom.)

If you watch Lost, you've probably seen their between-season ARGs:

If you play Halo, you might remember I Love Bees:

And if you're still silently blinking at the concept, check out one of the coolest and clearest examples. Created by the ad agency McKinney, it's how Audi launched the A3 in the States. Watch it here.

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