LOOK: An app that challenges you to leave your mobile device alone

McDonalds Philippines has just launched a new game app which, ironically, encourages people to leave their beloved mobile devices, reminding that there's no substitute for offline socialization.

Deceptively simple, the BFF Timeout App is a cooperative game for Android and iOS users that records how long a group of friends can resist checking their gadgets. It was conceptualized by Leo Burnett Manila and developed by Mobext.

Players are rewarded with badges like the ones seen in Foursquare for more minutes played. For the next two months, however, the prizes are much more enticing – weekly trips to key tourist hotspots like Boracay and Japan.

Jeremy Obial, chief technology officer at Mobext, confirmed with Marketing that the app will be exclusive to the Philippines and patches to improve the game will be released.

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The BFF Timeout App is part of an integrated campaign in partnership with Coca-Cola called #BetterTogether, which seeks to bring meaningful conversations back in today’s digital age.

While technology helped people communicate much easier, the iconic brands said that more connections are now happening in social media than in the real one.

Asked on why McDonald’s created the app, McDonald's Philippines product manager Cholo Perreras said: “We stepped up with our ideas and though of challenging people to have a digital timeout challenge but in a fun way. We wanted to remind people the value of connections in real life and that’s what we had in mind when we approached Leo Burnett and Mobext to help us create this tool.”

The umbrella campaign kicked off last 7 April at the Analog Hours Media Event at SM Andriatico. Attendees tucked away their phones and participated in offline activities that resemble their online counterparts – an analog Facebook, Pinterest and music playlist run by a real band, to name a few .

McDonalds’ digital timeout efforts are paired with the BFF Bundle, a special menu super-sized for a group of up to four people. This was promoted via social media, in-store, and print, radio and a TV spot created by Leo Burnett Manila.