Ice cold marketing techniques

Want to make your branded competition giveaways a little more interesting? How about making them that bit harder to get at?

You could do this by constructing some incredibly complicated ARG campaign, spanning various social media destinations, with embedded codes across a range of interconnected Internet portals, building on a layer of augmented reality and GPS check-in functionality. Alternatively, you could appeal directly to the curiosity of passers by and encase your product in a massive block of ice.

This is the simple, low maintenance and low cost - yet highly hands-on – technique employed by Microsoft as part of its promotion for the Windows 7 handset.

A series of devices were encased in blocks of frozen water and distributed around Paris. Accompanying street teams handed out flyers with barcodes on that revealed whether a participant had won the handset or not. Those that did were left to retrieve their prize from within the block of ice, resorting to a variety of means to crack open the frozen casing.

The competition element is secondary to the actual gifting, which gave Microsoft both an outdoor experiential campaign and guaranteed viral footage.  The promotion echoes a campaign by Capcom earlier in 2010 for its Lost Planet 2 videogame,  whereby pre-release beta codes to demo the game where trapped inside similarly sized blocks of ice, providing plenty of UGC footage of people attempting to be first to unpack the new release.

It’s simple buzz marketing, but there is undoubtedly room for more efforts like this one, where the competition prize itself becomes an event, extending the life cycle of the campaign.

Microsoft Windows Phone from urbanact on Vimeo.

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