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#6. Switch Interactive's Xmas Bash Self-Promo

MarketingSherpa Summary:
Loads of ad agencies submitted viral campaigns for this showcase, but only Switch won a place (so far). Why? The campaign not only generated an astounding amount of traffic but it also resulted in real-life paying clients. Let's face it, no matter how "creative" or fun your viral campaign is, the real point is your bottom line.

Agency - in-house
Client/company - Switch Interactive
Brand campaign was conducted for - Switch Interactive
Launch date of campaign - Dec 2004
Target audience/demographic - Potential ad agency clients (worldwide)

Campaign Goal:
Switch Interactive is a small design group in Vancouver Canada. We first became known through our incubation of the ultimate online viral effort -- the 24-part series which went on to win the Sundance Online Film Festival. However, that had been done as a labour of love -- we needed to get the word out that we also did advergames and motion graphics for commercial clients as well. We did as a way to showcase our microsite design work, advergame abilities, and motion graphics work. The campaign went out in 2004 and spread virally over the year. But it was 2005 when it really started burning up the bandwidth. We took care not to over-brand the effort so that it would not be seen as blatantly commercial. But it was clear that Switch Interactive did the work ... and from it we have got a number of interesting clients looking for advergame creation and edgy, interesting microsites associated with a product introduction. Our target markets: the videogame and other entertainment industry clients.

We knew that the viral campaigns that go truly viral worldwide have something 'sticky' about them that people fall for, and send along to their friends. We put a lot of time into creating the game engine behind the game part of XmasBash. The game was created in Shockwave. We did all the character work in-house by filming our own employees dressed up as Santa and Frosty and taken with a digital camera in 1000 freeze-framed shots. These were stitched together for gameplay. We believe that it was the quality of the programming as much as the interface design that made this game go viral.

Seed Strategy:
We alerted industry portal sites about the site including,,, -- and let them send out to readership online. That's all we had to do.

Buzz Generated:
We just won a coveted international Viral Award for best viral marketing 'Open Brief' category against big industry heavyweights. (Awards to be given out in London and in New York on February 15th). What we've found interesting is that we introduced the site/game a year ago and it had a buzz then ... but nothing like this year when it was resurrected by both a Japanese portal site and a Norwegian portal site.

Specific (Goal-Related) Campaign Results:
We measured server traffic and just this December we had 800 gigabytes of traffic alone! We tracked visitors and so knew which referring sites we had, and we tracked time spent on the site (an amazing 8 minutes per visit!) In terms of commercial opportunities, we knew that when people emailed us for quotes on potential jobs, they referred to seeing us on a blog or design portal.

Biggest Learning:
Would do it again in a heartbeat as it was so damn fun to work on. We were the client and we made time to do it right. This year we did and it was a simpler concept that we tracked ... and it didn't do as well. But the surprising thing is that this campaign as well might very well just grow over time, quietly and steadily without us doing a thing. Just like XmasBash did.

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