Advertising practitioner, political consultant and author Tony Schwartz coined the term “partipulation” – wherein you could heighten the involvement an individual has with any given commercial if you got them to participate in their own manipulation. The idea was not to tell the viewer something new but harness existing feelings; this would help the viewer to feel they’d reached any conclusions of their own volition; similar to Al Ries & Jack Trout’s positioning ideas.
Streams Online Media Development’s Amazing Virtual Subway Game* applied this premise to an online game for Subway Restaurants in 1996. Players assumed one of several characters and racked up points eating sandwiches before their soda ran out. The players scores were publicly posted much like arcade video games high scores.
Though Tony Schwartz passed away in 2008, partipulation is alive and well today.
* The Amazing Virtual Subway Game was created by Streams on behalf of Hal Riney Heartland for Subway; Flash programming was done by Stone Interactive.