Publishers Weekly has a detailed article analyzing the success of Random House’s Vroengard Academy, a virtual world and online game based on the wildly popular Inheritance cycle novels by Christopher Paolini.
SnapTell’s Snap.Send.Get mobile marketing platform is being used to power some of Vroengard Academy's online and offline scavenger hunts; players must figure out clues, search for specific items and then snap pictures of the items with a camera phone and send them to the academy via MMS.
From the Publishers Weekly article:
The game launched June 2, and more than 20,000 users signed up in the first three weeks; the number has since doubled to more than 41,000. “We’re really excited about that number,” says Linda Leonard, director of new media marketing at RHCB. “It’s definitely in line with where we wanted to go.”
According to Leonard, there is a 45% return rate among users, which shows the number of players revisiting to the site to check their progress and complete weekly challenges. She adds that a return rate of this level is high for this kind of campaign, and that there is strong participation among girls, with a 60/40 split between male and female players.
A two-week viral marketing campaign, which involved a “lost dog”-style teaser poster campaign, led up to the game’s launch. Once the game started, Random introduced three additional promotions in U.S. cities throughout the summer. During the first of these, sites in Austin and San Francisco were painted with Vroengard Academy murals, and street teams passed out 5,000 flash drives, which contained a “lost chapter” from Eragon, as well as an audio clip from Paolini. Online maps directed fans to the giveaway locations.
During two subsequent periods—one in mid-June and one earlier this month—10,000 additional flash drives were distributed at locations in Philadelphia, Minneapolis, Boston and Chicago. The later flash drives contained additional unique series information: the third, for instance, included an excerpt from Brisingr, which could only be unlocked after solving a clue in the Vroengard Academy. As Leonard puts it, “We wanted to give the fan base content they could enjoy and interact with all summer, and really make this an event for them.”