Kiip lets brands create flash contests inside apps

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Kiip, a new mobile monetization startup that offers gamers real rewards at key moments during a game, has been humming along, reaching 25 million players. But its appeal with advertisers has been limited to more of the brands and companies that can provide simple rewards, such as Carl’s Junior, Dr. Pepper or Pop Chips.

But now Kiip (see disclosure below) is going after bigger brand advertisers with a new feature called Swarm, which engages millions of users in multi-player tournaments with the top winners walking away with big prizes. Players in a game can already get a small individual reward for hitting a milestone or achievement in a game running Kiip. But now a brand advertiser can offer bigger-ticket rewards to the top players who participate in a Swarm contest over a set number of days. Advertisers can easily set up their own Swarms and decide how to reward users for top scores or other specific in-game achievements.

Walt Disney Studios is the first brand advertiser to sign on and will offer a range of prizes for people who participate in its Swarm running on the game Megajump from Dec. 23-26. The winner who gets the highest score during the Swarm will win a 3D TV + Surround Sound System, while other prize winners will get tickets to a 3-D showing of John Carter, a new Disney movie launching in March. Other winners can also get Disney DVD packs, and a $10 credit for snacks in theaters.

“We were missing the opportunity to tackle bigger brands. If you think of United, Paramount, Disney or Nissan, that doesn’t really work for real rewards,” said Kiip CEO Brian Wong. “But we realized when people are playing games, there’s hundreds of thousands of people playing along with you. What if I turn that massive audience into a competition?”

With this new feature, Kiip is also pulling back the curtain on which games are running Kiip’s campaigns. Now, users will be able to check out Kiip Spotlight to see what games are in Kiip’s network and what kind of rewards are offered.

Swarm could drive more engagement around a brand at specific times while still offering users the promise of real rewards. Brands have previously been able to launch campaigns with their own apps, but this will allow brands to leverage popular games and create quick tournaments that don’t require a big investment. If certain Swarms prove popular, they could also help app publishers drive more downloads of their apps too.

Disclosure: True Ventures is an investor in Kiip and the parent company of this blog, Giga Omni Media. Om Malik, founder of Giga Omni Media, is also a venture partner at True.

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