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20 Aug 2008
IOC News

McDonald’s “Lost Ring”

McDonald’s has introduced a new game, but it doesn’t come in your Happy Meal. Since March of this year, the TOP Olympic sponsor has been the force behind the largest alternative-reality game (ARG) and website, The Lost Ring. As this is McDonald’s first venture into the world of ARG, it could make it their biggest undertaking yet. And with the culmination tied to the Summer Games and wide-reaching recognition of the brand, more and more people are being introduced to this new form of entertainment. McDonald’s global chief marketing officer, Mary Dillon, explains the goal of the programme to be “strengthening [its] bond with the global youth culture”.
Investigate forgotten mysteries
The Lost Ring adventure calls for gamers from across the globe to join forces online and in the real world as they investigate forgotten mysteries and urban legends of the ancient Games. After nearly six months of play, the Lost Ring will culminate in Beijing near the Closing Ceremony. For the past few months players have been receiving a wave of clues both online (via YouTube and Flickr) and off (e.g. players found clues in a post box in Tokyo and a bookstore fireplace in Johannesburg). In addition, the game’s official website offers a forum where players can discuss theories and work together to solve the puzzles. 
The Backstory
The game began more than four months ago with 50 bloggers receiving a package containing only an Olympic poster and various clues directing them to the game’s official website. Once there, a cryptic trailer begins to play. The short film depicts a woman asleep in a deserted field who wakes to find the words “Trovu la ringon perditan” – Esperanto for “find the lost ring” – tattooed on her arm.
An Internet and International Sensation
Since the trailer first launched, 2.5 million players across the globe have continued to follow the stories of five characters who all awake with the same markings tattooed somewhere on their body. Players can communicate with the characters via email, but as they come from all around the world (South Africa, Korea, Japan, Argentina and England), the language barrier adds an extra twist to an already enticing plot.
To get in on the game, go to
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