It's almost the New Year, and I always spend the final weeks of December reflecting on the past year. Did I (actually) complete my resolution this year, did I achieve my year-end goals, what kinds of headlines and events took place? In the marketing realm, this year saw a resurgence of gaming both on- and offline. From social gaming websites such as FarmVille to live scavenger hunts through SCVNGR, 2010 was the year of gaming -- whether you wanted to play or not.
I have to admit a minor factoid up-front; I am not a game-r. However from a marketing point-of-view, I can understand the allure behind gaming; building buzz, excitement, and creating points-of-engagement between your brand and target audience. Is gaming as a marketing tool a new discovery? Canadian Club's 1967 'Hide a Case'? Campaign proves that gaming as brand-building tactic has been used for a long, long time.
In 1967, Canadian whiskey maker Canadian Club hid 8 cases of its signature beverage in exciting locations throughout the world. Throughout the next two decades, the spirit-maker continued to hide cases of product and sponsor scavenger hunts to find them. Today, a total of 9 cases are still missing; an interactive map on the Canadian Club website indicates that these cases are hidden all over the world from the Yukon Territory to Loch Ness, Robinson Crusoe Island to the North Pole. Consumers can click on the map to see the original advertisement containing the scavenger hunt clues to help locate the lost spirits.
This fall, the 'Hide a Case'? campaign made a comeback, inviting daring and adventurous individuals to join the hunt for a prize case that has been missing for more than 40 years. The preliminary stage of the competition took place online, and consisted of interested individuals vying for one of eight spots on 'Team Tonga.'? The final showdown will take place in April 2011, and will be televised to increase the reach of the campaign beyond Canadian Club drinkers and extreme-sportsters.
'Hide a Case'? is the longest-running spirits promotional campaign, and for good reason! The adventure aspect of the campaign reaffirms the brand's identity and heritage, while getting consumers excited about and involved with the brand. As with experiential and guerilla marketing events, the scavenger hunt encourages consumers to become engaged with ' and talking about ' the brand. In this way, the scavenger hunt as a marketing tool has a greater impact, encouraging buzz and word-of-mouth amongst consumers and contributing to positive brand associations and equity. Canadian Club has done a superb job with this campaign over the years, and I would argue that the Canadian whiskey maker clearly understands the difference between short- and long-term marketing goals and branding implications. Can you think of other brands ' besides the loved marketing examples of Coca-Cola, McDonalds, and Disney ' that have done the same thing?