Carrots keep crunching

by Justin on October 4, 2011 · 0 comments

Xtreme Xrunch Kart, the world’s first crunch powered game, has been awarded a bronze trophy in front of a sold-out crowd at the 2011 IAB Mixx awards. The award, for “Single Execution: Games,” is evidently quite prestigious.

Taken from the MIXX website: The MIXX Awards is the only interactive awards competition judged by an all-star panel—advertising agency executives who create campaigns for the world’s most powerful brands, marketers with direct control over many of the largest advertising budgets in the world, and major media company leaders.

My employer, CP+B took home a number of awards, including Best in Show for American Express Small Business Saturday. Pretty cool!

Xtreme Xrunch Kart is a free iPhone game where you race around obstacles in a carrot-crunch powered shopping cart. There’s a few things I really like about it, that set it apart from other games and campaigns:

  • The animation is top-notch: Jamie Hewlett, the animator behind the Gorillaz and Tank Girl, penned the graphics. So it looks super-pro.
  • The game is fun, but technically very sophisticated. Your power-ups are fueled by physically crunching carrots (in real life) which is picked up by the microphone of the device. Not an easy task to code, and as far as I can tell, it’s never been done before.
  • The marketing part of it is particularly sly. To win the game, you have to crunch the product. Doesn’t get any more direct than that.

Funny story about this project. When it started, my boss Scott Prindle asked me if it was possible to write an algorithm that could tell the difference between the crunch of a carrot and the crunch of a Dorito. I thought about it for a second and replied “No way, of course not.” His response was immediate: “Great, because we already sold it through and it’s going into production. I need you to write it.” It was as if I had replied “Yeah, no problem.” Well a couple months later, the game was done and we actually had a workable algorithm that did exactly what we needed. Normal, everyday sounds won’t trigger it, but crunches will. So to my own disbelief, we had accomplished our goal. And it’s gone on to win quite a few awards. At CP+B, that’s the principle we call “delusional positivity” and it’s lead to some of our greatest work.

As always, the opinions expressed on this site are my own, and not those of CP+B.