Cataboom Puts Gamification into Companies’ Toolboxes

Players of the games enjoy playing and winning, and in turn, building brand identity.


The breadstick appetizer floats across the screen as the gamer launches pizza boxes at them trying to hit it. The player gets an instant reward.

This simple web game was created by digital marketer Cataboom for Pizza Hut’s website.

It’s not Call of Duty or Skyrim, but the game is critical to Plano-based Pizza Hut’s online presence in today’s gamification and instant gratification society.

Todd McGee, CEO of Dallas-based Cataboom, explained why brands are moving toward games, quizzes, and other dopamine-inducing activities at the Digital Summit Dallas Wednesday at the Irving Convention Center.

“It really does create brand love,” McGee said. “There is a reason, unfortunately, for addiction. Games are just as addictive as anything else. They’re not only rewarding that behavior, but they’re feeling good about your brand. To play and win are instinctive human desire.”

“It really does create brand love.”
Todd McGee

Dopamine is a natural chemical in the brain that gives people a feeling of pleasure. Winning a game can release that chemical, creating a connection between the customer and the brand, McGee said.

“Now everyone’s using games and things on their phone and they’re interacting,” McGee said. “We have that desire to get instantly gratified.”

Cataboom also worked with the Dr. Oz show to create an online quiz after every episode and posted it to the website and Facebook page. The questions related to the episode and if they got it right, they got a reward.

“They made the questions really tough because they wanted them to make sure they are really watching the show,” McGee said. “We’re using games as a way to do it and engaging them on a daily basis.”

He also showed a cross promotion with Captain American and Iron Man where users took a quiz to determine which character they resemble. When completed, users get an exclusive digital photo from the movie before it comes out.


Not everyone can afford to partner with Marvel to use trademarked characters, McGee said. But it’s all about making a fun game that people will remember and come back to.

One attendee asked whether Cataboom ever has a moral conflict with the games it produces.

McGee said they do have clients that work in gambling, cigarettes, and other things. But McGee said they see themselves as a tool, just like Facebook or Twitter.

“It’s up to the user to make those moral decisions,” he said. “We’re just a platform. It’s just gamification. How you use it completely up to you.”

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