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Case Study: NCTA Advergame


In response to a multi-year downward trend in Real tree sales, the National Christmas Tree Association (NCTA), growers and retailers of Real Christmas trees, recognized that it needed to develop a marketing program to stop the decline and regain market share.

Approach (viral marketing advergame)

As part of that effort, our founder worked to identify methods in which the National Christmas Tree Association could reach out to Gen Y nationally, but for a modest budget. He proposed, conceptualized, scripted and commissioned the development of an "advergame" (game with embedded advertising and messaging). The advergame (Attack of the Mutant Artificial Trees) used a sci-fi comic book genre, delivered humorous "digs" at fake trees during game play and presented factual messages about the advantages of Real Christmas trees over fake.

NCTA viral marketing: attack of mutant artificial trees advergame screen grab

"Between rounds" score screens educated players of these facts and the "game over" screen served two purposes; 1) it included an email component for multiple addresses that enabled players to invite several of their friends to beat their score and 2) it enticed players to visit the NCTA website for information on a college scholarship/vacation contest.


For a very modest budget, the advergame reached more than 2.5 million gamers (primarily Gen Y) and was played more than 1 million times. Average game play was just under three minutes, so three minutes of message delivery with an intensely captive audience.

• Reached 2.5 million gaming subscribers (primarily Gen Y)

• Played more than 1 million times
(average of three minutes of message delivery)

• Featured in USA TODAY, other papers, radio shows and gaming sites

• VERY Modest cost

The advergame was featured in USA TODAY and other premiere newspapers, named by Kim Komando as her "cool site" of the day during her radio show that reaches 8 million listeners.

It may not be an advergame, it could be something as simple as adding a "send to friend" function to your web pages or email, or using You Tube to promote your services, but Searchlight Interactive will work with you to determine whether there are creative opportunities for viral and Internet marketing that fit your target audience and budget.

Contact us for a viral marketing consultation.


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