A mobile first Christmas campaign.
The cost of living crisis has had a big impact on the way that brands engage with their customers.
Amidst increasing financial hardship, brands have had to show greater sensitivity and flexibility in their propositions to customers, and in their communications. This challenge was particularly acute during Christmas 2022, when research showed that over half of Britons felt anxious about managing their finances during the festive season.
Rather than opt for the typically flashy TV campaign, Vodafone wanted a new approach that would actively lift people’s spirits and engage hard-pressed families in a fun, free and inclusive way.
Christmas is full of traditions and rituals that families love to engage in together; from visiting Winter Wonderland, to taking a special trip to Santa’s grotto.
We realised that we needed to help Vodafone create their own magical festive ritual. Elf & Seek, the UK’s biggest Augmented Reality-powered Christmas treasure hunt, was born.
DENTSU CREATIVE worked with fellow Dentsu agency Carat to develop the gameplay and narrative, which encouraged people to scan their phones in locations across the country to find Santa’s missing Elves.
Using the latest augmented reality, geotagging and media technology, the game enabled players to drop a candy cane that would lure an Elf to their location for the chance to win thousands of prizes with VeryMe, Vodafone’s exclusive rewards programme.
The candy canes and Elves were created as NFTs on a private blockchain, ensuring that each one was unique and collectible to the player.
A launch day promotion on Heart FM helped to drive people to the game, while clever OOH placements and social posts gave players clues about where the next candy canes would drop in their vicinity.
The reaction to the game was remarkable, with over 100k active players in the first three days of launch, and over 245k people in total. Each player spent an average of two minutes playing the game per session, saving over 270,000 Elves and claiming over 20,000 prizes.
In addition, positive social sentiment reached an all-time high of 63%, with the Elves being mentioned over 4,000 times on social media. Even more promising was the game’s success at putting Vodafone at the heart of a new Christmas tradition. Research shows that the game made people feel joyful, with 94% of players agreeing that it brought them Christmas cheer, while 76% said they could not wait to play the game again next year.
Brand consideration for Vodafone also jumped by four percentage points, doubling the category average increase.
Players took part
Prizes given away
Agreed that it brought them Christmas cheer