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Internet, Marketing, Travel & Tourism

Advergaming: an interview with VisitOslo’s Katrine Mosfjeld

By William Bakker | 01.13.10 | 3 Comments

Katrine Mosfjeld from VisitOSLO

Katrine Mosfjeld has been the Manager of the Tourist Information Division at VisitOSLO for 8 years. She manages online and offline information delivery to consumers ranging from Tourism Information Centres, to digital strategies, visitOSLO’s Twitter account and a booking system. She works closely with industry in Oslo and even delivers an eLearning program.

I met Katrine in Amsterdam at the ENTER conference last year where I was really impressed with the tremendous success of their Advergaming strategy. When I started to play the game I immediately understood the success. It’s super addictive! She just released a second version and I thought I’d catch up with her.

You’ve been executing an advergaming strategy with the Holmenkollen Ski Jump. What gave your team the idea to use an advergaming strategy?

I wish I could say it was my idea, but it wasn’t. The supplier, an Oslo based little firm called Agens, got the idea and first contacted our colleagues at VisitNorway to see if they were interested. They were, and the Manager, Hans Petter Aalmo, invited us at VisitOSLO to discuss the idea and potential. This was back in the summer of 2006. As you can imagine, this was pretty new 3,5 years ago and the project group was not sure if it was going to work. But we liked the idea and we had a good feeling about it. So we decided to try something brand new… The stakes were high, but then the gain is good as well if you succeed right?

When did it first launch and what were the objectives?

We launched it December 21, 2006. You can still play it online. We decided to measure our success in numbers of games played (profiling the ski jump, Oslo and Norway each time) and visitors to the sponsor websites. But we never even dreamt about the results we got. Or all the other stuff that happened…

What were the results and what was all the other stuff that happened?

The numbers we got were incredible! And they are still growing every single day. At the moment, 138,800,000 games have been played, which means 277,600,000 jumps because every game has 2 jumps :). It has also generated more than 3,000,000 visits to our websites. How great is this??! Neither VisitOSLO or VisitNorway has ever done anything more efficient when it comes to marketing and results. And the other things that happened, but never thought of while planning…

  • lots of media attention for the game, I’ve counted more than 20 articles
  • we won a prize for the best game on a Norwegian gaming site 123spill.no
  • 2 different Facebook groups created by fans
  • some 40-50 people have been recording themselves and uploaded their videos on YouTube, like this one. Make sure to check out the related videos :)
  • There have been blogs written about the game as a phenomena, and the Norwegian Ski Jumping team has blogged that this is what they do when they don’t work out or compete in the real stuff :)
  • lots of tweets on Twitter
  • the widget has been installed on many websites and blogs
  • we’re even included in the ETC eMarketing book

You just launched a new version. What’s new and how are things going so far?
It’s a pretty tough act to follow because the first game was so successful! But we’re building a new skijump in Oslo, the new fantastic Holmenkollen Ski Jump, designed by JDS Arcitechts and wanted the game to reflect the new ski jump and brand. We launched it December 16th 2009 and you can play it here. It has been played 9,6 million times on the website already, with great viral effects in Facebook-posts, tweets, etc!

We also launched a Facebook app where you can play against your Facebook friends to see who’s the better jumper ;-). It has been played approximately 1 million times on Facebook since we launched December 21st. An advanced version of an iPhone app has been sold over 2000 times since December 24th.

The game has been tweeted a gazillion times, received TV coverage on the news, sports, papers, blogs, Facebook and YouTube… It has generated 66,500 visitors to the sponsor websites.

The results look very good so far, especially considering it was launched only a few weeks ago. We expect it to deliver results for many years; the old game is more than 3 years old, and still delivers. Yesterday there were 342,000 games played in the OLD game :) Pretty efficient, eh?

What advise would you give to destination marketers who’re thinking about advergaming?

We’ve experienced that it is extremely efficient – but it has to be a good idea, and done professionally. We also think that our success partly comes because it is fairly addictive :). It is a bit difficult to play, but not too difficult. You quickly understand some of the things that makes you better, so you want to try again. And it doesn’t feel to commercial – even if its marketing, you feel that it’s a game, and it is a game. Only it has some messages attached, and provides some links when the interest is created :)

Thank you very much for sharing your insights Katrine and congratulations with the success of the game.

You can follow Katrine on Twitter. Curious about the game? You can watch the video below but you really should play it.

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