We thought about how we could find all the Volkswagens in the country – Luckily for us, somebody had gone to all the trouble of photographing just about every single Volkswagen on the streets of South Africa: Google Street View.
So, we launched a Facebook game which challenged users to find as many Volkswagens as possible on South African streets using Google Street View in a custom-designed Street Quest gaming interface.
Since 1951, South Africans have loved Volkswagen. In fact, you’ll probably find one on every street, road, highway and byway in the country. We wanted to find an innovative way to celebrate the impact that Volkswagen has had on South African streets, and bring this nostalgic connection into the social media space to kickstart Volkswagen South Africa’s Facebook Page.
Facebook was the only form of paid advertising for the Street Quest campaign.
Facebook Ads and Wall Posts directed users to a Street Quest Custom Tab, from which users could learn about the game and launch the application.
The Custom Tab introduced the game via a ‘trailer’ video and showcased the prizes on offer, the Grand Final and a Game Menu which showed live data from the weekly Quests.
We used Facebook Authentication as a login system, which simplified and enhanced user registration. All the information about the user play was displayed to create a social, personalised experience from the moment the user enters the game.
Volkswagen Street Quest challenged Facebook fans to navigate the streets of South Africa in Google Street View to find as many Volkswagen as possible.
Players could drag and drop a Street Quest Pin onto each Volkswagen to increase their score and move up the leaderboard.
The game was played over four weeks and the player with the most Pins each week qualified for the Grand Final – a live playoff in which finalists competed for prizes worth R50 000.
In order to turn Street View into a truly engaging gaming experience, we added several gaming features to the interface – both in terms of design and functionality.
Besides competing to make it to the Grand Final, players could earn achievement badges, claim new scenes, submit their unusual finds to the Hall of Fame and win Bonus Prizes by finding hidden Volkswagens – all while listening to local streaming radio stations on the custom designed Street Quest Radio.
Achievement Badges, Hall of Fame images and various other features in the game were shareable, allowing users to challenge friends and join them in the Quest, which helped increased the virality of the campaign.
One of the challenges we faced was combining two widely used applications, Google Street View, into a seamlessly integrated game. The Login process and interface was designed and built in such a way that the two could be combined into a single gaming interface that we could track.
The animated Street Quest Trailer video highlighted Volkswagen’s proud history in South Africa, showing various Volkswagens from the past six decades travel on South African streets, while Street Quest was introduced and explained. In less than a minute, viewers knew what Volkswagen Street Quest was, why Volkswagen was doing it and what they needed to do to get involved. The Youtube video was embedded in various blog posts from around the world and saw a viral spread on social media networks.
We amplified the online game in real life and by actually pinning Volkswagens around South Africa.
A brief explanation and QR code on the Street Quest Pin took people straight to the game on their mobile phone so that they could start playing right there and then.
The QR Code on the Pins took users to a Mobile or Tablet version of the game available on iPad, iPhone and Android Devices. The Mobile and tablet version were available on a custom URL and had exactly the same functionality as the browser-based version.
Importantly, rather than only Volkswagen itself pushing the campaign, several popular websites and blogs picked up on the innovative use of Google Street View technology to promote the Volkswagen brand and generated a lot of the online conversation.
Lots of people, including key influencers in the advertising and tech world, were talking about Street Quest online – even Google gave us a “thumbs up” with a Blog Post about Street Quest appearing on the Google Geo Developers blog.
Once the online Quest was completed, we flew the four winners of the weekly Quests to Cape Town to compete in the Grand Final.
But this time, it was Street Quest – in real life.
Four players had eight hours to find as many Volkswagens as possible in Cape Town – and only one tank of petrol.
They had a camera to capture the Volkswagens, a friend to help them drive and all the street smarts they had learned from playing the game online.
Loyal Street Quest fans that couldn’t be there watched the Grand Final online – ending their journey with Street Quest 2012 with a fittingly epic conclusion.
Launch Volkswagen Street Quest
Campaign Results Summary
More than 413 558 Volkswagens were found and ‘Pinned’ in the Volkswagen Street Quest online game. Over 103 000 Google StreetView Scenes were ‘claimed’, with players spending an average of 10 minutes and 9 seconds playing the game. The number of Page Likes on the Volkswagen South Africa Facebook Page more than doubled in size from 15 144 to over 38 800 fans. The Facebook Page’s Total Average Weekly Reach grew from 103 993 to 621 530 unique users, with a peak of 1 006 660 during Quest 3. A weekly average of 4194 people created a story or were ‘talking about’ Volkswagen Street Quest on Facebook, compared to 1041 in the two months prior to the campaign. The online videos had over 30 000 views on YouTube, and the PR generated through local and international blogs and websites created immeasurable value for the Volkswagen South Africa brand.