Multiplayer Rowboat Race

The better together challenge

The challenges on this one made it one of a kind.

First, we had to come up with a creative interactive proposal to make a big splash at the booth (this was back in 2003, one of the first projects we did, and was used in Paris, then in 2004 in Vienna, and again in 2007 in Hawaii). So this had to create a whole experience at the booth, not just something on the side. It had to be the main attraction.

Second, it had to include educational content. It couldn’t be just a simple game, it had to teach something to the attendees.

And the third challenge, was pretty unique. The pitch was aimed at two competing brands, that had two different drugs (these were two major pharmaceutical companies), but when taken together, they worked better.

So the key message was Synergy.

We came up with the idea to create a rowing boat game, named “The Better Together Challenge”. And consisted on 3 boats, 2-players per boat. Each player had an electronic row, and the more in sync they rowed, the faster their boat would move forward. And the race had certain stops, where a question was asked and each team had to answer. Those who answered correctly, were able to continue rowing immediately. Those who didn’t, had a small penalty time (on the screen, they saw their boat filled with water and the rowers on the screen took the water out with buckets).

We created all the electronic interfaces, including the “rows” you see there, and all the software that made the game you see on the screen. And worked with the booth builder who was creating the counters that represented the boats.

It was a hit. They had non-stop players, they ran out of prizes (which were those chocolate coins), and people had a blast. And the best of all, was watching how to non-related attendees, that didn’t even speak the same language, figure how to work in sync to row and win the game.

The challenges
  • Big splash
  • Educational
  • Two brands, one message
Schering-Plough & MSD


Paris, France