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Oh Snapr! Kiwi app set to kick off 'the world's biggest photo fight'

Snapr, a Kiwi-conceived free photo sharing and geo-tagging app has made a bit of name for itself after being given some cash by New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, endorsed by Microsoft and used to show the glamour shots during New Zealand Fashion Week. Now it's added a dose of the digital marketing term du jour—gamification—to the recipe with a photo sharing game called Capture the Flag that's captured the attention of some major Kiwi brands. If you've seen how Foursquare works, you'll know social media can be pretty nerdy, with points awarded for the most check-ins and virtual 'mayoralties' dished out. There are also elements of oneupmanship and showoffiness in the Twitter/Facebook popularity contest. And a similar philosophy applies here, with users joining tribes and working together to ‘Capture the Flag’ at popular places by taking photos and checking them in.

"Mobile internet and smart phones make a whole new kind of gaming possible. Play happens in the real world and can be another layer to your everyday life," says co-founder Edward Talbot, who set up the business in 2009 with Rowan Wernham and splits his time between New York and Auckland.

The app, which is available for iPhone, Android, and other modern web capable phones, makes it easy to share snaps to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Foursquare, and users get extra points if friends ‘like’ photos or write comments. It also features a map of the most hotly contested spots and a global leader board.

"There are lots of little ways for good photographers to ‘win’. For example, the most popular photo at each venue becomes its main image," Talbot says.

Many of the tribes, such as The Kiwis and The Wallabies, are based on countries playing in the World Cup, so it's hoped some of that competitive team spirit will feed into the game, while others like The ‘wawas are more about lifestyle. Much like the Heineken RWC App, it aims to help travellers/tribespeople see where others from the homeland are going, and find connections with those who visit similar places (for travellers who want to play but are worried about data use there is a ‘Wi-Fi Only’ mode that queues uploads and adds them to the game automatically when connections are available).

"In Capture the Flag the group-based gameplay keeps things moving, and makes it easier for people to be part of winning and holding a venue. Mobile photo sharing has really exploded in the last year and we hope our twist on it will appeal to a lot of people. People tend to take photos at their favorite spots so it's fun to bring in the game aspect and show which groups of people are most prominent in different places."

The venue data comes from Foursquare and, like many other location-based social media platforms, the app also offers deals and bonuses from featured venues, which include some of New Zealand's most social media savvy brands.

42 Below created the Carnival tribe (which is linked to its Carnival 42 pop-up in Britomart) to help find the best nightlife spots; Burger Fuel is offering deals to users of the app nationwide via their tribe HamboV has created the robot Mecha tribe; and Moa beer has brought its signature bird back from extinction. Jucy Rentals is also supporting a tribe and will help tourists get their hands on SIM cards provided by 2degrees (sponsors of The Kiwis) that come loaded with mobile data.

"A couple of smart-nerdy dudes came to see us about their geeky mobile photo sharing game and we thought the only way to make it fun was to apply beer to the equation," says Sunil Unka, marketing manager, Moa Beer. "Smart phone game + Moa = fun. Simple."

As well as these specific sponsors, Tourism New Zealand is sponsoring six tribes and recommending 100 must-see destinations across the nation. Kiwis have the opportunity to win prizes with a photo popularity contest and take the best photos at one of over 100 featured destinations across the country using Capture the Flag.

On the Pure New Zealand Facebook page, a custom FB App built by Gladeye that only those overseas can see and enter is offering three $5,000 trips to New Zealand and 200 prizes are part of an international campaign. It is also planning to leverage some of the material for its marketing, a la the 'There's Nothing Like Australia' crowd-sourcing campaign, so there's obviously some fairly heavyweight business backing of the idea.

Find out how to download the free apps and view an online demo here (demo is for Chrome and Safari browsers only).

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