Creative campaigns from Universal Orlando, Figi’s and California Tortilla

Universal Orlando Resort
Mobile aids in chilling fun

Universal Orlando Resort wanted to improve its Halloween Horror Nights, an annual promotion during which the park runs special horror attractions around Halloween.

“Halloween Horror Nights is focused on how we can continue to evolve the experience and new ways we can talk to the guests,” says TJ Mannarino, director of art and design for the entertainment division of Universal Orlando.

Universal decided to increase its mobile presence for this year’s Horror Nights.

“Mobile is becoming a way for us to give a new sort of experience and a new way to connect with our product,” Mannarino says.

Besides offering mobile alerts and building a WAP site to allow on-the-go guests a way to check out attraction status, the park offered the Haunted House Queue Line Adventure, in which guests waiting in line at the park’s haunted houses were led through a text-based adventure that concluded by encour­aging them to register for a sweepstakes. There was also an integrated Web/mobile game in which players at home could interact with people at the park on their mobile phones.

The mobile initiative was promoted mostly through Uni­versal’s Web sites. But, Mannarino believes word of mouth also helped: “People come in groups, then talk about their experience afterwards with their friends.”

Fifteen thousand people signed up for mobile alerts, 2,000 for in-park alerts and more than 3,000 for the mystery game. The WAP site reported 380,000 views. –Nathan Golia

Personalized recommendations give the gift of sales

Approach Internet and catalog retailer Figi’s teamed up with MyBuys this fall to introduce personalized product recommendations on the Figi’s Gifts in Good Taste and Gallery Web sites. Using MyBuys’ formula of algorithms and real-time optimization, Figi’s is able to deliver relevant recommendations.

Results The personalized product recommendations fueled a 119% increase in recom­mendation conversion rates compared to fall 2007. –Jonathan Mack

Fast-food chain sees fast results from social networking

Approach To help build its online presence, California Tortilla recently revamped its Facebook page, adding company news feeds, videos and discussion forums. It also established a Twitter account to engage loyal customers. The online effort has been used to remind consumers of special deals and may soon offer members-only discounts.

Results Within two days of its November 17 launch, more than 1,000 people had joined the Facebook group, and the Twitter feed counted 50 followers. -Lauren Bell

Gene Lewis, Partner and creative director, Digital Pulp

It’s nice to see that some companies understand the nature and benefits of mobile media. While Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights experience dictates the cre­ative for this campaign, it’s delivered in unique ways that are designed to improve parkgoers’ overall experi­ence. Alerts, line distractions and a variety of engaging immersion techniques are leveraged to delight visitors and extend the reach of hor­ror — and it seems to work.

Product recommendations are always a good idea for an online retailer — and leveraging data about your customers’ behavior, needs and desires can help elevate the experience further. Figi’s has implemented this capability, but with no creative framework for the user to enjoy. Not all related products are equal, and letting a user know why the products are being recommended can help them understand relevance. Figi’s misses an opportunity to stand out from the crowd here.

I suppose there’s no harm in a com­pany wanting a social networking campaign — especially a company that enjoys a younger customer base like California Tortilla. People seem to be interested in sharing their thoughts and opinions on Facebook and through Twitter – and the power of this viral world is undeniable. That said, there’s noth­ing unique or creative about this foray into social networking.

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