How do I begin describing what Contagious Magazine called "the most nauseatingly exciting bit of advertising" it's ever seen...?
It's like your fantasy league meets futures meets Foursquare meets Facebook meets I AM PLAYR meets the UEFA Champion's League in real-time.
With help from AKQA, Heineken's launched Star Player, an iPhone app that lets you "play" matches alongside the UEFA Champion's League. It launched just in time for the start of Man U vs. Schalke's semi-final (April 26th).
Ten minutes prior to the match's start on your telly, the app opens for play. When the whistle blows, the game timer syncs automatically with the time on your TV. You're given 8 chances to accurately predict which team will score, or whether one will, in 30 seconds -- positioned in the video above as a test of your pro acumen. You win badges or points for accurate calls ... and the earlier you make them prior to the goal, the higher the points, adding the pressure of speed.
Results can be published on Facebook Connect. You can play against friends or the world; it's your call.
This isn't the kind of thing I can play (my head would explode; I'm finger-slow), but even if it's not for you, it's not hard to see why this is cool shit that hits the spot. Star Player harnesses enthusiasm surrounding a match and get users engaged exactly the way they've always wanted: participating in social competition while collectively witnessing pro competition on-screen.
(How many bar fights have been started over somebody shouting "I CALLED THAT!"...?)
And the technology isn't new, or relegated exclusively to sporting events. Nearly two years ago, the BBC developed an iPhone application that delivers predictive plot quizzes that sync in real-time with televised soap operas. The phone mic is used to cue the quiz timer.
(...Doesn't that sound easy? Go use it in something.)