Heinz and Reckitt Benckiser gamify ‘hated’ Captcha verification system

Heinz and Reckitt Benckiser are turning security code boxes used to verify users online are humans and not bots into games in the hopes of exploiting the much-maligned process for advertising revenues.

Cillit Bang is looking to drive engagement around Captcha security tools.

The games will replace Completely Automated Public Turing (Captcha) security tests on some UK-based sites over the coming weeks. Both games take around 15 seconds to complete with users being tasked to either fill a virtual sandwich with Heinz Salad Cream or clean a dirty penny using  Reckitt Benckiser’s Cillit Bang.

The games have been created using Future Ad Labs PlayCaptcha advertising platform and will both be seeded across the portfolio of two media owners in the coming weeks. Future Ad Labs declined to name either publisher, but said they would also host games from other brands before the end of the year.

It is the first time both brands have attempted to exploit the reach of Captcha, which asks users to type in words to prove they are not robots trying to cheat the system, across many sites in the UK. Since launching in 2000, the security tool has been forced to become increasingly difficult for people to understand in order to stay effective against more sophisticated robots.

Research conducted by Vizeum during trials of the Heinz and Reckitt Benckiser games between June and July 2013 revealed around 91 per cent of respondents felt they were a better experience to the standard word-based Captcha. The media agency claims Captcha can be an “important” advertising format for the future by allowing brands to cut-through to web users in a ”cluttered online environment”.

Brands such as Toyota and Dr Pepper have attempted to exploit the mounting difficulties for Captcha users in recent months by replacing the words with phrases associated with a brand image. Companies such as Solve Media and NuCaptcha are expanding around the opportunity by developing advertising platforms capable of tapping into publishers’ sites around the world.

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