Teaser Campaign

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Capture The Tag is the first great cross-media marketing campaign of 2011.

Capture The Tag is the first great cross-media marketing campaign of 2011.

This week, we got a call from long-time friend of the agency, Lee Wojnar. We and Lee go back a ways, to when he was a terrific professional photographer and early digital imaging pro with his own studio on 4th Street, just down from Philly landmark, Jim’s Steaks. After giving all that up (even the cheesesteaks) and saying Westward Ho for major responsibilities at Intel, Lee moved up a few times since, and is now VP of Marketing for the O Bee Credit Union in Tumwater, WA (the thriving credit union of the once but now defunct Olympia brewery). He has always done great work, and is always looking to leverage new technologies, but this week, he really hit his stride (although it isn’t an overnight success — he confided he has been putting this together for the past six months).

Newton helps Lee with occasional PR and such was the case for this new promotion he has launched with several partners in the Olympia area. You can read our official news release on “Capture The Tag” here.  But more significant is the instant buzz this promotion is generating. Incredibly, over 360,000 pages of coverage posted already according to Google.

Capture The Tag's announcement has already generated over 360,000 pages of coverage.

Capture The Tag's announcement has already generated over 360,000 pages of coverage.

The reasons are many. “Capture The Tag” is a fun variant of the old camp favorite, but updated for everyone armed with a smartphone. Nice cash prizes and iPads are the incentives to participate, but to win you have to collect all 30 Microsoft tags located at businesses around town (each tag leads to a new clue). Some of the tags are tags for that business, but there are also 10 tags devoted to short videos on personal financial education. To win, you also need to be present at the drawings of confirmed 30 tag collectors, at a large-scale party and networking event.

The promotion leverages latest technology and social media to attract Generation X participation (a demographic group sought by so many businesses, but not easily cracked). Lee chose Microsoft tags because he preferred the added functionality they offer over QR codes. Microsoft tags are 2D barcodes that connect real world objects to information and interactive experiences when scanned via the Tag Reader app on smartphones. In addition to the “Capture The Tag” web site, the tags lead participants to Facebook and Twitter pages and YouTube videos.

“Capture The Tag” also leverages traditional media. Two of the sponsors are the leading local radio station, 94.5 ROXY, and the leading daily newspaper, The Olympian.

The real meat lies under the surface, however. “Capture The Tag” feeds useful personal financial tidbits to make the audience smarter about credit, fraud, and saving, lessons in short supply these days. The promotion and the educational component have the backing and sponsorship of the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions.

The ultimate purpose is local economic development. The promotion brings participants into the “bricks and mortar” locations of 20 area businesses to collect their Microsoft tags. “No purchase necessary” to scan their tags, but while in these shops and restaurants, game players just might buy a thing or two. Or come back again (and again).

Last year, Old Spice scored big points as a marketing campaign that leveraged new and old media in clever ways on a national level. With “Capture The Tag,” O Bee Credit Union just showed you can do the same on the local level, connecting a tech audience with local businesses, teach a few financial lessons, and have great fun in the process. It is wildly original, but deserves to be copied, so its benefits can trickle out to many more communities. We always knew Lee Wojnar was smart and creative. But he just hit a tape measure “thinking outside the park” home run.

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I’m a sucker for a great teaser campaign. A print ad or a tv spot that sends you to a web site for the full story or at least another chapter. So, I was really interested this week driving up the New Jersey Turnpike to a trade show at the Javits Center to spot a billboard featuring the mystery message: Jersey Doesn’t Stink. The board was near Newark and chemical plant territory where there’s always a fragrant “polymer du jour,” which only intrigued me more.

Jersey Doesn't Stink

Jersey Doesn't Stink

A visit to Jersey Doesn’t Stink.com raised a few more questions than it answered. My first thought was that if someone is investing in billboards on the turnpike, they are on a mission. My first thought was a state agency. Tourism? Economic Development? A Trenton-based air freshener manufacturer? If you go to the fine print, an entity called Jersey Doesn’t Stink, LLC is behind the site. If you go on Google, you won’t find them. Hmmmmm. There is a page of sponsors, but there are only six, all of them small businesses or groups. The mystery deepens. Billboards cost a lot of money, so whose civic pride is bankrolling this effort?

The home page features the rallying cry: “We’re sick of the clichés. Are you sick of defending your home state against wisecracks?” There’s a humorous video clip, a petition, opportunities to share the site. Ultimately, the site is meant to be self-sustaining. There’s an online store selling shirts, hoodies, coffee mugs, etc. But since the counter indicates only 633 people have signed the petition, these folks may need a major broadcast buy to jumpstart e-commerce.

What constitutes armpit of the nation status? Joe Piscopo’s famous SNL routine. A renewal of MTV’s Jersey Shore, plus at least three other Jersey reality shows? The seamy side of the Sopranos? What counteracts the negative and the self-deprecation? Sinatra? Springsteen? Princeton? Victorian Cape May? Jersey tomatoes?

I have too many fond memories and frequent Garden State visits to ever dislike my Eastern neighbor. Which is why this effort unfortunately reminds me of the famous Ralph Waldo Emerson quotation, “The louder he talked of his honor, the faster we counted our spoons.”

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