Hoping to attract gamers, or anyone impressed with impractial public spectacle, a McDonald’s in Sweden has launched a promotion that combines free food, Pong and one gigantic screen.

Dubbed “Pick & Play,” the promotion asks prospective customers to compete against the computer in a gigantic game of Pong, with free food going to the (theoretically human) winner.

New Scientist explains the concept in detail:

Users visit a website and the geolocation system on their iPhone confirms that they are near enough the billboard to play. They then choose what item they wish to play for – a portion of fries, or a burger, for example – and then are put in the queue to play Pong against the computer, with their game relayed on the big screen.

The iPhone screen is used as the player’s controller, with swipes of the finger used to manipulate the paddle. If they are able to last 30 seconds against the game’s increasingly challenging AI opponent, then a digital voucher is sent to their phone which they can take to a nearby restaurant to redeem their treat of choice.

As the New Scientist piece is quick to point out, this is not the first time McDonald’s has dabbled in the world of interactive gaming, nor, for that matter, the first time this particular billboard was involved. Last year the fast food giant unveiled a promotion in which people could redeem images captured from the billboard via cameraphone at McDonald’s restaurants for free food.

While it seems superficially extravagant — no doubt hungry orphans in Africa would benefit greatly from whatever vast sum the corporation paid for this promotion — the sheer marketing prowess here is brilliant. Combining free food with free video games, even rudimentary games, is guaranteed to attract members of our tech obsessed society. Take that idea and apply it to a gigantic screen (the human equivalent of a particularly attractive bug light), and the number of people flocking to the nearest McDonald’s following a round of public Pong should pay for this entire scheme a few times over.

Still, in our health conscious modern age, one wonders what effect, if any, this promotion might have on people who would otherwise shun the company’s food as wildly unhealthy.

Source: New Scientist

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