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Best of the Best: Diamond Hunt

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[dropcap cap=I]nstead of concentrating solely on how to draw Bostonians into their free-standing downtown store, Richard and Michael Finn, owners of family business E.B. Horn, decided to take their brand out into the streets for the 2006 holiday season, staging a scavenger hunt for a supposedly long-lost diamond. The marketing campaign has been so successful that was named a finalist for PRWeek’s Promotional Event of the Year — EILEEN MCCLELLAN[/dropcap]

[componentheading]THE IDEA[/componentheading]

[contentheading]Citywide Scavenger Hunt[/contentheading]

When E.B. Horn decided to launch the one-day Great E.B. Horn Diamond Hunt for a “lost,” $25,000 diamond, ad agency Conover Tuttle Pace spun a fictional history to go with it. Here’s the gist of the first year’s fable: In 1839, the year E.B. Horn was founded, James Ernest Fitzgerald of Boston had concocted a set of clues to lead his soon-to-be fiancée, Marie Merriweather, on a hunt for a diamond, which Fitzgerald had purchased from E.B. Horn. But during an oyster dinner, James fell victim to a bad bivalve. Marie would never marry. The diamond would never be found. “But to celebrate the promise of love that blooms in every couple’s hearts, The Great E.B. Horn Diamond Hunt was born.”

[componentheading]THE EXECUTION[/componentheading]

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[contentheading]Work with Media Partner[/contentheading]

In the first year Conover Tuttle Pace launched a teaser campaign, scattering hundreds of empty ring boxes around the city with the hunt’s website tucked inside, and posing mannequins as if they were searching city Dumpsters for the diamond. In year two, a billboard truck, newspaper website banner ads and radio spots added to the marketing. From thousands of applicants, 200 teams of two diamond hunters were randomly selected. The day of the event, they were sent out with clue maps. The first 10 teams to solve five clues were given faux gems, one of which represented the real diamond. The winners were revealed live on the radio during a post-event party. The first year, the winning couple promptly became engaged. Now that’s romancing the customer

[componentheading]THE REWARD[/componentheading]

[contentheading]Mega Media Coverage[/contentheading]

Best of the Best: Diamond Hunt

“Our hope was that it would get picked up locally in print and TV media, but that first year we ended up with 35 major TV markets across the country,” Richard Finn says. The total ad equivalency of the media coverage the first year was estimated at $380,000. Thousands of people signed up to be on E.B. Horn’s e-mail list and many of them became customers. “I was surprised, particularly in year one, with the incredible amount of enthusiasm that the participants had, as well as the employees of E.B. Horn,” Finn says. “Everyone loved it. It’s amazing the number of times we have people coming in and saying they saw the diamond hunt on TV.”

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[componentheading]TRY IT YOURSELF[/componentheading]

Start with a great idea: Consider your goals and how best to connect your brand with your customer. 

Bring in reinforcements: E.B. Horn would not have had the resources to undertake such a promotional campaign on its own. Work with pros who specialize in promoting a brand.  

Choose a worthy prize: A $25,000 diamond was enough to get people’s attention but didn’t break the bank, Finn says. 

Set a budget: E.B. Horn’s annual budget for the promotion was $100,000.

[span class=note]This story is from the July 2008 edition of INSTORE[/span]

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