Sun Valley’s Stone Skipping Robot Devours the Resort Intrawebs
July 17th, 2012By:
I was skeptical when I initially blogged about this idea. So skeptical, in fact, that I hid my initial thoughts on a July 4th post when I knew I wouldn’t be at a computer to promote it. Would they build in some competitive aspects? Would it involve some sort of skill or just mindlessly pushing a button? Would they take advantage of the buzz? I had so many questions that kept me from getting too excited about the idea.
In the end, Skippy rocked it.
All the Right Pieces
The system, much to my marketing delight, was very well constructed:
- Database Growth: To skip a rock, users had to connect via Facebook (granting email address access), Twitter, or a regular web form which would also enter them into vacation giveaway and give them the chance to opt-in to the Sun Valley newsletter.
- Semi-Skill Required: Skippers had to select a skipping angle and skipping “power” (required some careful timing with a mouse click for full power)
- Competition: Each skipper got a score for their skip and was shown on a leaderboard encouraging multiple skips, sharing, and competition.
- Recording & Sharing: Each skip was video recorded with easy-to-share buttons and links on the page after the skip was completed.
Within 30 hours of launch, the 1000th (maybe a little less, not sure if it started at 0) stone had been skipped and the 300th tweet had been posted with a link to the site. At any given time I counted 12-15 people waiting in line for their chance to control Skippy (the name of the robot) and a slice of glory.
The Twitterverse also seemed to think it was a pretty solid idea:
- “This has to be the best travel promotion on the internet right now.” @vninow
- “Media Camp staff testing out Skippy the stone-skipping robot. Awesome interactive experience!” @themediacamp
- “Beautiful & Simple” @sexyrob
- “LOVE this tourism promo for Idaho: http://stoneskippingrobot.com. Nice work.” @DrakeEmily
- “Great tourism campaign for Sun Valley, Idaho. “Skip Stones in Real Time With Skippy the Robot” @thegratefulone
- “This is the most badass viral marketing idea I’ve ever seen. Skip stones virtually. http://www.stoneskippingrobot.com Way to go @visitsunvalley!” @joeartdotcom
It was simple, quirky, fun, competitive, and in the end, viral. Great work Sun Valley, Visit Sun Valley, and 14Four.