Last week, Bengaluru-based employee benefits and business insurance firm Plum created a stir by launching Cards Against Work, a fill-in-the-blanks card game. A reviewer on Product Hunt described the game as combining ‘the hilarity of Cards Against Humanity with the soul-crushing realities of the workplace’.
The game is simple: purple cards carry questions, white cards carry responses. In each round, one player (the ‘manager’) asks a question from the purple cards. Every player (the ‘employees’) responds with their funniest white card. The manager picks a winner and “everyone else is dejected” just as in the workplace. With 45 questions and 120 answers, a large set of hilarious (and often true) combinations is possible.
You can read more about Cards Against Work and pre-order a set here.
But what does Plum hope to achieve with Cards Against Work? We asked Shreyas Achar, Head of Marketing at Plum.
Q: Why launch something like Cards Against Work?
Modern-day brand building and marketing, especially for B2B companies, has been reduced to white papers, webinars, direct response ads, and celebrity endorsements. These are still important but building a brand today demands more, especially for startups trying to be financially prudent.
Be it employee benefits or business insurance, the Plum brand operates in the gamut of the workspace. Making statements in this space not only means walking the talk, but also getting creative about the future of the workplace by observing and setting trends that can help shift the needle for work related commentary.
Cards Against Work not only connects with our audience in a memorable, enjoyable way but also represents our brand’s spirit — innovative, disruptive, and fun. While it’s playful, it adds a new dimension to conversations at work. We hope the game initiates dialogues, promotes empathy, and creates more understanding work environments.
Q: Tell us about the genesis of the idea
Everything about the game, from content to design to website, was conceptualised and created in-house by the brand marketing team. It took us a few iterations to find the right tone with the cards – the first draft was too vanilla, and the second draft was a little too edgy. The third draft made the cut.
While we had created it, we also knew we had to test it out to gauge initial reactions. The game underwent multiple rounds of testing – first at an office party, then at our internal hackathon. We then sent it out to a few friends of Plum for thoughts and feedback. Some of them loved it so much that they ended up posting about it even before we launched – we had to ping them separately, requesting them to hold on until July 12.
Q: How are you putting the word out?
Product Hunt: We launched CAW Product Hunt to appeal to a wider international audience. This not only resulted in orders from USA, Germany, and France, but also caught the attention of Ryan Hoover, founder of Product Hunt.
Social media: We’re using our social media channels to create more awareness and amplify testimonials from early users. We’re also exploring creative ways to integrate CAW with comms around our other initiatives and product lines.
Workplace conversations: Cards Against Work has become part of the swag we take to our partner events and coworking spaces. We’re also looking to partner with board game communities and public spaces to host game nights for folks who are interested.
Q:Interesting choice to make this a paid game. Why?
We believed Cards Against Work could transcend international borders, and we wanted to be prepared for the eventuality of orders coming in from other countries. In order to scale this in a sustainable manner, we decided to price it at ₹1130 – also the time most folks take their first coffee break at work.
More importantly, people value what they pay for. We don’t want CAW to be one of those things that end up collecting dust on a bookshelf because people got it for vanity reasons. We want to see it being played, so we decided to optimise it for folks who’d pay for it – because they’re guaranteed to play it at least once.
The game is currently on pre-order because we’re still looking at the demand for this. We didn’t want to be in a place where we’d overestimated the number of people who’d buy, or worse, realise that we didn’t have enough to match the demand. The launch has given us a fair idea, and we will start shipping our first batch next week.
Q: How has the response been so far?
Internally, Cards Against Work is finding its way into everyday work conversations. A co-worker used it to tell HR that the A/C temperature was too low. Externally, people have already started making their own house rules. For example, a company made a rule that if the combinations got “too real”, people shouldn’t play the card.
Source: Review on Product Hunt
Q: How would you measure the success of something like this?
A pack of Cards Against Work in every rec room of companies that care. CAW being played at every offsite, team building event, and company party. People perceiving Plum as the flag bearers of good company culture and a company that walks the talk. We’d count all of these as wins.
B2B marketing need not be boring and more brands need to push the frontiers of what’s been done. We love that Cards Against Work is not a one-off exercise purely for the sake of creativity but fits into Plum’s overall offbeat content strategy and that the team has thought through execution and distribution. As far as success metrics go, regardless of how many packs actually sell, the social buzz and flow back to Plum’s brand image is probably worth the investment.