The Royal Canadian Mint is launching a campaign targeting kids with a slick interactive game, developed by its lead agency, Cossette Montreal, in collaboration with the Toronto digital production company Jam3 and the Toronto design and animation studio Tendril.
The visually driven game—a scavenger hunt called “Heart of the Arctic“—is part of a bigger 360-degree campaign to promote four 25-cent coins commemorating Canada’s first arctic expedition, which took place 100 years ago.
The website invites children to take on the role of an adventurer on a quest to find more than 50 objects in the far north, earn “explorer badges” and unlock lost coins.
The Mint’s goal was to inspire coin-collecting at a young age, but it also wanted to provide an educational element, so as the players click through, they learn facts about Canadian history or arctic wildlife.
It’s well known that gaming is one of the best ways to get children engaged and learning, said Cameron Wilson, interactive creative director at Cossette Montreal. The digital experience, which took about four months to design, is geared toward children 7 to 11.
The “expedition” theme is not only right for the historic occasion, but it also capitalizes on what kids already love to do, said Wilson. “We talked with a child psychologist and teacher, and what she said is that a part of children’s early development is linked to collecting,” said Wilson. “Kids do this naturally, so it was a perfect fit.”
The interactive game will be promoted through school programs (with downloadable activities for teachers on Mint.ca); print ads in Canadian Geographic Kids, National Geographic Kids and Kayak; TV spots (integrated into YTV’s The Zone, and used as capsules during Vrak TV); and the web (including banners on children’s sites).
Although this particular project was aimed at kids, Wilson predicts gameplay in general will become increasingly important for marketing across demographics.
Because the game industry now makes more money the Hollywood’s movie industry, “gaming is on the tip of everyone’s tongue,” Wilson said. “I think it’s incredibly powerful and necessary for people who want to market their stuff to get involved in gaming when it’s applicable and makes sense. Gaming is where things are going.”