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Old Game, New Tricks

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?

Old Game, New Tricks

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?

Face It, We All Like to be Players

I recall beating Donkey Kong Country - Part 1 on my Super Nintendo system back in the day ' no 3D action ' just the old school left-to-right screen adventure. What I recall the most, however, is the feeling of victory and attachment I felt for my little banana eating gorilla friend and his rigorous quest. Video games have come a long way in recent years with innovation on the rise and technological capabilities moving forward at a fabulous pace - especially gaming and its integration into social networking. According to Mashable, about 56 million Americans are currently playing social games'?¦56 million. The opportunity of social gaming is so vast and the chance to reach millions is at our finger tips. Gaming tactics have become so useful when devising the latest marketing strategies and tactics. Social gaming can take on many forms and the creative sky is the limit. We all know that Facebook likes to be a player. We've seen the phenomenon of Farmville and the increase in Facebook gaming applications.  Interactive Facebook TABs are also providing brands with plentiful forwarding-thinking opportunities to 'take it to the next level' for their consumers. And of course, there is Foursquare who's undoubtedly a huge player ' with exciting acquisition of badges and points as one visits their favorite restaurant or hot spot ' all done from the daily mobile phone device. The more you get around, the better your status. So why do people like games?  Because they are fun, of course! But also, social games engage the consumer and give the brand a chance to come to life and interact with fans. Social gaming is the future...so go ahead, don't feel guilty, be a player!

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