In a slightly unusual brand alliance between a watch brand and a railway company, October saw Tag Heuer promote its new Aquzracer Glacier Express Railway timepiece through an innovative social gaming app called ‘Mystery On Board’.
More corporate partnership than sponsorship, nevertheless this is an interesting brand alliance initiative that sees the premium Swiss watchmaker link with the classic Zermatt/Davos/St. Moritz alpine railway on a Facebook-driven gaming promotion.
The Glacier Express is perhaps the world’s most famous railway: it travels from Zermatt to Davos or St. Moritz on a day trip through mountain landscapes, gorges and valleys, passing through 91 tunnels and across 291 bridges.
The ‘Mystery on Board’ social gaming app, which was developed by French social media agency KRDS, is available for download via Facebook and spans desktop, smartphone and tablet users, aims to engage consumers while still promoting the co-branded product.
Players are briefed on the premise as the game, which revolves around a traveller’s journey from Swiss city St Moritz to Zermatt on the Glacier Express train, while it initially loads up.
The plot explains how the player discovers that his or her bag was mistakenly taken by another passenger and the object to retrieve the bag (which contains an Aquaracer Glacier Express limited edition timepiece) before 4pm when the player has arranged to meet with their partner and present it as a gift.
To retrieve it, one must find and solve a set of clues scattered throughout the train carriage.
Once the game is completed, the player is automatically entered to win Tag Heuer prizes – including a grand prize of an Aquaracer timepiece and an all-inclusive trip for two aboard the Glacier Express itself.
The first clue is a mobile phone that displays text messages from the player’s actual Facebook friends’ list, while other clues involve memorisation, puzzle and problem solving.
A further social element comes at the end of the game when players are prompted to invite Facebook friends to play, as the brand seeks to use the platform as a means of increasing awareness and fan following through entertainment.
‘We believe that with canvas apps, the branding impact is much more important, mostly because the company has more freedom to express its brand message,’ says KRDS brand strategist Cécile Lorber.
‘This means that we can develop a more developed app concept with great artistic direction, which, obviously, is very important for a luxury brand. With an immersive app the experience is longer, so the Facebook user will tend to engage more with the brand. He or she will spend more time on the app, they will invite more friends and will be willing to come back if the concept is addictive.’
This application does seem to be an innovative example of how brand alliances in the premium space can promote a specific product socially and transform a marketing campaign into the kind of unique immersive journey that reflects the railway journey itself.
Social games certainly can offer consumers a chance to engage with brands on a casual level – with fun and entertainment enable those brands to connect with consumers outside of a direct purchasing environment.
Other recent examples of such an approach in the premium and luxury spaces include Hermès ‘Rallye 24’ race track-inspired tableware range being integrated into an online game running on the Hermès’ Web site, plus Longchamp’s ‘Bigger Than Life’ branded video and online game.
Mystery on Board Facebook Page
Tag Heuer Website
Tag Heuer Facebook
Glacier Express Railway Website
Glacier Express Facebook