The Threshold – A Successful CISCO TransMedia Multi-Layer ARG Project

Posted on May 8, 2011


2011 Update:

CISCO, No Mimes and JUXT Team up again in an amazing TransMedia Project spanning 5 Continents and 2 weeks of Alternate Reality Game Immersion.  It’s called “The Hunt.”

Here is a Webisode segment provided as a featurette to the participants to help solve a mystery and engage them in activities.  You will notice the male character takes out an iPhone in real time and indicates feedback from people watching the story unfold.  CISCO branding and products are seamlessly integrated into the storyline of this segment.

In this follow-up segment it ends with a call to action from the viewer audience to help solve the dilemma in the storyline.

IN 2009 CISCO, Juxt and No Mimes collaborated and produced “The Threshold.”  It has set a new bar for TransMedia excellence.


The Threshold An Alternate Reality Game

In 2009, Cisco turned to JUXT Interactive and George P. Johnson to help make their annual Global Sales Meeting a virtual event. The Global Sales Experience was created to help inform and motivate 19,000 Cisco sales people from around the globe.

Knowing that our audience was 89% male — most of them highly competitive and highly social — made our solution fairly obvious. We turned the whole event into a worldwide competition. And to anchor that competition, we built a deeply immersive Alternate Reality Game (ARG) titled The Threshold. Collaborating with the ARG visionary Steve Peters and his talented team at No Mimes Media, JUXT worked to create an experience that would blow the Cisco sales force away. Bringing these two talented teams together did not disappoint. The fruit of this unique marriage was hours of entertainment, challenge and collaboration for our audience, many of whom devoted most of their waking hours to the experience.

To help build anticipation for GSX, The Threshold was treated like a summer blockbuster film, with Cisco offices displaying digital posters resembling movie billboards. The highlight of a pre-launch email campaign featured a gripping trailer video that raised buzz in Cisco hallways around the world.

The Threshold officially launched three weeks prior to the event, and players quickly found themselves immersed in its story, and emotionally invested in its characters. Cisco Sales teams demonstrated both genius and tenacity as they worked day and night to follow the ever-evolving storyline and unlock the game’s mysteries.

As The Threshold unfolded over 4 intense weeks, players exchanged phone calls and emails with fictional characters, scoured every corner of the GSX platform for clues, and uncovered secret videos, including recorded Webex sessions. Cisco’s CEO John Chambers even made cameo appearances, while Executive Vice president Rob Lloyd released crucial clues in his live opening session.

In the end, The Threshold proved to be a runaway success, doubling our expected participation numbers. The revolutionary ARG captivated 13,000 of the event’s 19,000 attendees, and for many of them, playtime exceeded several hours a day. Numerous unsolicited forum threads championed The Threshold for promoting collaboration and learning, and for bringing the company one step closer to its vision of ONE Cisco.