Secret Lewis: where sport meets online gaming in an unusual way

By Onlineability,

Something rather amazing has happened. The exclusive, self-absorbed and frankly new media-shy world of Formula One has signed up to an absolutely cutting-edge form of marketing and promotion – the Alternate Reality Game or ARG.

Well, we say Formula One. Actually it’s leading British driver and 2008 World Champion Lewis Hamilton, in partnership with one of his personal sponsors, Reebok.

The 25-year-old is allowing himself to feature as a character in a large-scale online game world which invites players to uncover clues, interact via text messages, Twitter feeds, emails and websites with characters and writers, and even attend live-action events.

This is exciting stuff. The game is slated to take place across most of this year’s Formula One season and its biggest challenge will be to find an audience among gamers who might not be very interested in the sport and sports fans who might need to make the leap to gaming.

We’ll be watching with great interest – and hopefully playing too. We’ve looked at this at length for our motorsports site Brits on Pole:

F1: Will you be the one to uncover Lewis Hamilton’s secret?

A slightly-built young man dodges through the shadows, face partly hidden by a black hoodie. But even as he tries to conceal his identity, there’s something incredibly familiar about him. What is he doing?

If a new website called Secret Lewis is to believed, the 2008 F1 World Champion and 2010 McLaren title hope is leading a secret existence foiling international art thieves, as well as helping their victims recover their lost and priceless treasures.

Ridiculous? Implausible? Well, yes.

But nevertheless, we have some quite substantial evidence to convince us this is what is going on. For a start there is the photo to the right and a YouTube video showing him in action. as well as a website quoting him at first hand.

Lewis Hamilton, international crime fighter. It’s an enticing if somewhat incredible prospect. So, what is really happening?

Well, of course it is a marketing exercise, on this occasion featuring his personal sponsor Reebok.

But it’s one that offers fans a tangible reward for getting involved – engaging and interacting with Hamilton in ways they may never before have dreamed were possible.

Welcome to the world of Alternate Reality Gaming.

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