PlayCaptcha wants to replace annoying security forms with gamified advertising

9 Oct 2013

The team at Future Ad Labs

A London-based tech company hopes to change the gate-keeping Captcha to something more enjoyable for users, with benefits for brands, too.

Captchas are a common feature in the day-to-day online universe. It’s the somewhat irksome security feature that asks users to decipher some mangled text in order to prove that they’re human and not some bot. At least 300m Captchas are completed daily – that’s about 150,000 hours spent trying to read squiggly lines every day.

Award-winning advertising start-up Future Ad Labs thinks this experience could be improved through gamification. Its team of scientists, engineers and gaming experts have come up with PlayCaptcha, an alternative to Captcha that they claim is both faster and more enjoyable to complete.

A new interactive advertising platform

Big brand names Heinz and Reckitt Benckiser have already signed up as launch partners. The Heinz PlayCaptcha involves pouring a virtual bottle of the brand’s salad cream onto a sandwich. For Reckitt Benckiser, the PlayCaptcha asks users to scrub up a dirty penny using a bowl of Cillit Bang.

What you may have noticed here is that the gamified Captchas also provide a new interactive advertising platform for these brands. In an online environment of ad-blocking plug-ins and display ad ignorance, brands are seeking advertising that offers a higher level of engagement, and Future Ad Labs claim consumer sentiment and product recall is improved through PlayCaptcha.

In testing, 91pc of users that played the Heinz PlayCaptcha found it to be a better user experience than the word-based forms, while 90pc could recall the Heinz product following the test. It seems there’s hope here to alleviate the frustration of necessary security measures while also sending a brand message.

Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.