The feathers are flying as Sheraton Hotels & Resorts starts a worldwide pillow fight through the use of unique online technology showcased at a new interactive website, Sheratonplay.com. The site invites visitors from across the globe to pick up a pillow and join a live virtual pillow fight, while simultaneously enabling them to book reservations or search travel options. Sheratonplay.com, developed to support the brand’s goals to bring people together and allow them to interact while traveling, uses online technology in an unprecedented way by enabling multiple web users to interact “live” simultaneously on the same or multiple web pages.
While being showcased at Sheratonplay.com, the pillow fight technology will also run live on rich media banners across a range of websites where Sheraton advertises, inviting users to engage in the game—live with other users across the web—without ever leaving the site. When online at a participating website, users simply roll over a rich media banner from Sheraton at the top of the page to immediately engage in Sheraton’s pillow fight. Multiple users, from anywhere in the world, can play against each other without ever leaving the web page they are viewing. Various web sites, including NFL.com, AOL Travel, Trip Advisor and Frommer’s, will offer the rich media banner, and will be translated into multiple languages to reflect Sheraton’s global presence.
“Sheratonplay.com uses a unique functionality to encourage our on-line guests to interact as a group in a fun, creative way as they book a reservation or simply search their travel options,” said Brian Povinelli, Vice President of Marketing for Sheraton. “Our research tells us that the Sheraton guest is a ‘social being’ who enjoys interacting with others while traveling. This site naturally supports our brand platform and positions Sheraton as a leader by leveraging technology in an unprecedented way.”
In “pillow fight” a user’s cursor is connected to a pillow, providing the option to engage with up to four other guests in a live pillow fight that occurs in a virtual Sheraton room. A second variation, “splash fight,” invites visitors to jump into a Sheraton pool for a virtual splash fight - complete with sound effects. A live counter is updated every seven seconds at the top of each game to reflect the number of users playing at that moment across the Web. After 15 seconds of play, there is a “time out” and guests can choose to continue playing or click through to the Sheraton landing page.
Sheratonplay.com was developed by Sheraton’s online agency Avenue A| Razorfish in conjunction with the rich media vendor Eyeblaster, using a unique technology that leverages a combination of on-demand artificial intelligence with a multi-user interactive communication engine. Together, they provide a seamless, playful environment that brings guests together. “Particle systems” deliver the explosive feathers and realistic water splashes that users view when they click their mouse. The landing page of SheratonPlay.com has been tuned to balance the number of players at a speed with which the communication engine can keep up to ensure all players have a consistent and enjoyable experience.
“Multi-user technology was the perfect fit for the Sheraton audience,” says John Antoniello, Senior Art Director at Avenue A| Razorfish. “It’s a simple way for lots of people to jump into a fun, social activity. Who wouldn’t want to join a pillow fight?”