2008 Interactive Design Award Winners: Best of Show

Escape From Milkatraz

By Michelle Taute

It’s almost a horror-movie premise: You wake up to a life without milk­—not a single glass to dip your cookies in, pour over your morning cereal or help build strong bones. So what’s a self-respecting milk-lover to do? If you’re a member of the Adachi family, you pile into the truck and set your sights on breaking into Fort Fridge, where you plan to lay your hands on a heavily guarded glass of milk.

This off-the-wall scenario drives Get the Glass—an immersive online game designed to promote milk’s health benefits. But in addition to singing dairy’s praises, the site offers users a generous serving of entertainment. “At the end of the day, you have to create a reason for people to come engage with your brand,” says Will McGinness, a creative director at Goodby, Silverstein & Partners. And that’s a challenge the design team mastered: On average, users spend more than 12 minutes on the site.

It doesn’t take long to figure out why when you log onto Get the Glass. Every detail is just right and the game play is addictive. Things kick off with a movie-like intro that asks you to “briefly cast everyday morals aside” as you help the Adachi family steal a glass of milk. Then you roll a die to move the family’s truck along a 3D board-game path—picture a souped-up version of Life or Monopoly. Along the way, you navigate interactive challenges, draw cards and learn fun milk facts. If security catches up with you, the Adachi family serves hard time in Milkatraz prison.

One reason the game stands apart from other online efforts is because everything feels so real. “The character and environmental graphics are Pixar-quality,” says judge Kelly Goto. In part, this high praise owes a debt to some DIY handywork. The creative team built a large model of the game’s milk-deprived world. All the buildings and trees started out as real-life objects; then they were filmed and digitally enhanced. It makes players feel like they were dropped into an interactive cartoon.

The agency also spent a lot of time getting the game-play just right. “We’d mock up versions of this game on cardboard and literally play it,” McGinness says. “We played over and over.” This exercise helped them uncover a range of information—like how many times you can get sent to Milkatraz before it gets annoying. And since a multi-player game proved too complicated, they decided on a security detail to chase players as they move along the board.

HOW’s interactive judges often engage in spirited—though always good-natured—debates over the Best of Show winner. But this year, Get the Glass emerged as a clear favorite among all three judges. “The site is ridiculously good,” says judge Kevin McConkey. “The game is fun to play, the programming is amazing and the design is truly inspired. This is one of those projects that elevates the bar for what is possible.” Fellow judge Steve Mykolyn praised the level of detail, the execution and the strategic approach. “This is a fantastic piece of creative that works across all media,” he says.

And with those glowing reviews, it’s about time for you to stop reading and go Get the Glass.

Title Get the Glass
Firm Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco
Creative Directors Jeff Goodby, Pat McKay, Feh Tarty, Will McGinness
Associate Creative Director Ronny Northrop
Art Directors Jorge Calleja, Jessica Shank, Katie McCarthy, Brian Gunderson
Writers Paul Charney, Jessica Shank, Katie McCarthy
Creative Coordinator Asya Soloian
Broadcast Producer Michael Damiani
Director of Interactive Production Mike Geiger
Producers Heather Wischmann, Kelsie Van Deman
Account Director Martha Jurzynski
Assistant Account Manager Ashley Weber
Production Company North Kingdom
Client California Fluid Milk Processors Advisory Board