Tivoli Gardens - the idyllic 173-year-old amusement park in the heart of Copenhagen transports visitors to a new world every season. Lavishly decorated and the second oldest amusement park in the world, this Scandinavian hotspot attracts more than 500,000 visitors around this time each year. What sets Tivoli apart is the attention to detail, the creativity invested and the employment of the latest, coolest technologies in offering an immersive experience to every person stepping through its gilded gates. This Halloween campaign will be no exception; yet quite unlike anything before.
"Some of our guests enjoy the more scary part of Halloween - and we aim to please" - Michala Svane, Marketing Director, Tivoli
On this theme, Tivoli's creative minds set to work and what they came up with delivers in full: The Zombie Game.
This Halloween, through the lens of the Tivoli App, Tivoli Gardens is being transformed into a spine-tingling world of zombies - made possible by an innovative new augmented reality (AR) experience. All you need is a phone and the Scandinavian wonderland becomes a ghoulish zombie hunting ground.
Not your average Halloween experience
Fall visitors usually come to Tivoli for the "hyggelig" - that's Danish for "cosy" - atmosphere. However, this year Michala and her small team joined forces with the Intertisment agency to create something with a "spook-tacular" (we just had to) twist.
Their initial thoughts circled around going with a treasure hunt or some type of shoot 'em up model. The guidelines were simple: it shouldn't take visitors all day to complete - as Tivoli offers plenty other things to experience - it shouldn't be so complex as to turn people off, and it needed to be scary.
In the Tivoli tradition of reinventing the visitor experience, they also wanted to take a chance with a new digital dimension. The final AR product is probably one of the best Halloween campaigns I've ever experienced.
If your thoughts quickly turn to Pokemon Go, you would be correct. The phenomenal hype around this game, along with the hordes of teens and game enthusiasts already familiar with the world of AR, gave the Tivoli crew every reason to believe this campaign will be a success.
"With an augmented reality game, we can give you a new and more exciting Halloween experience. Augmented reality is an exciting and booming technology, we have already seen several examples linking physical and digital marketing. With The Zombie Game we've taken this to the next level and tried to create a new and engaging guest experience," says Svane "It's quite natural for us at Tivoli to explore new digital capabilities to create more stunning experiences for our guests, while unfolding new Tivoli universes on new platforms."
Are you a renowned Zombie Hunter?
If you're in Tivoli and you have a phone you're good to go. There are three Zombie game zones situated around the gardens. Once you enter, zombies will appear from all corners. There are three difficulty levels where you have five minutes to shoot as many zombies as possible and try not to get killed. Every zombie you eliminate earns you points that are displayed on a scoreboard. These points will also appear on Tivoli's website and Facebook page allowing you to compete with friends.
Bringing the game on social
Not only are you able to share your score on Facebook, you can also take a selfie with an AR zombie using the Tivoli App's Zombie-snap. Just find the hotspot within the Gardens and the zombie will obligingly appear for your selfie. The picture can be uploaded on Facebook and Instagram. The #tivolicph hashtag connects to Tivoli's website so they can easily reuse photos and increase the game's appeal.
"You can also win awards," says Svane. "The hope is that with this integrated Halloween campaign the rumor will spread on social and that the traction of the game will grow."
How many zombies does it take to measure success?
How will they know if this game is a success? Tivoli's team has installed heat maps to see how many players there are in the gardens, the areas they're in, and how much time they spend there. They'll combine this with social buzz - mentions, likes and feedback - to identify whether this experience is something guests would like to see again, and if there are elements upon which they can improve.
One thing is certain, as Tivoli is "a company with proud tradition but also great ambitions for the future" they intend to stay on top of any trends and digital developments that will delight visitors and keep them coming back. This is at the core of their soon-to-be-launched digital strategy that will combine online and offline activities in pursuit of the complete customer experience.
What makes an awesome Halloween campaign?
What's cool about this campaign is the desire of the team to experiment with digital techniques. They're integrating AR, mobile and social to boost awareness and encourage competition.
While not all companies have a budget big enough for AR aspirations, the key lesson here is how well Tivoli's marketing team listened to their audience when scoping the campaign, and employed those insights in setting up an integrated, mobile-first social media initiative. A deeper understanding of who you're talking to and your overall goals opens up a new world of possibilities.
And in doing so, Tivoli Gardens has steered well clear of the old hat Halloween campaigns too many brands fall into. As well as the type of social initiatives that amount to little more than "riding hashtags" in the hope of garnering a few likes.
In the next couple of weeks your social feeds and inbox are bound to be inundated by Halloween content, what will you do to make sure your campaign stands out in the crowd?