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Lilly launches online board game

Published on 24/06/14 at 10:01am
Game image
Lilly’s soft launch of Destination Discovery may very well be a reflection of how uncertain it is that its game will be adopted by users

Eli Lilly has created an online board game called ‘Destination Discovery’ that it says can help users enjoy the challenges of “bringing a new medicine from molecule to medicine cabinet”. 

The US pharma giant created the game in order to “share our passion for modern medical discovery process.”

In the interactive offering the player travels along a research and development course and answers trivia questions as they progress. Lilly hopes the user gets to experience overcoming the challenges and finding the opportunities in drug development. 

Amy O’Conner who is Lilly’s senior comms director, says on the firm’s LillyPad blog: “The journey of a new medicine involves complex research, global collaboration, and a rigorous testing and approval processes before new treatments can reach patients in need.” 

The game draws obvious parallels with Boehringer’s Syrum launched two years ago, upon which ‘gamification’ seemed to be a somewhat exciting prospect for digital marketing. 

But quite how successful this medium has and will be is open to interpretation. It’s interesting to note that when Syrum was launched it received extensive coverage across the board, whilst Lilly has chosen a much quieter campaign.

By far the biggest and well-known use of gamification comes from the Facebook game Farmville, and firms were clearly adopting this method in an attempt to deliver their marketing messages and advertising to the wider public.  

Some are looking at designing new games to promote health without any commercial agenda - and there are already several established apps and games out there to promote healthy living via gaming. 

Lilly’s soft launch of Destination Discovery may very well be a reflection of how uncertain it is that its game will be adopted by users, and perhaps it’s more a throwaway experiment into this form of digital marketing. 

Had Syrum been shown to be a runaway success, there would have been much more offerings since then from pharma keen to dip its toe into any digital opportunity. 

Given also the industry’s reticence to offer interaction to the public, which is mostly based upon regulation ­– it’s hard to imagine that there will be many more gamification offerings to come for the time being.

Syrum was promised to launch in the US and Canada following its European appearance, but that was two years ago and it is still yet to surface. ‘Destination Discovery’ seems to be quite an apt term for gamification and pharma in general.

Brett Wells 

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