- W Hotels, part of Marriott International, launched what it calls the hotel industry's first branded game to promote the June 15 opening of its W Bellevue location, according to a news release.
- The game, available on smartphones, tablets and desktop, is called "Belle the Bear" and has a retro, 2-D aesthetic likened to the arcade classic "Frogger" in the press release. People who play the game between June 15 and July 15 and reach the top five U.S. scores can win real-life hotel rewards.
- Part of the impetus for the promotion was Bellevue's status as a gamer's city according to Anthony Ingham, global brand leader, W Hotels Worldwide, in the press release, adding it's a way for W to engage with future fans "on their own turf."
More marketers are looking to gamify their strategies, as playable ad formats or even entire standalone experiences can drive engagement thanks to their high level of interactivity and fun. W Hotels is going the extra mile with "Belle the Bear," directly tying hotel rewards to users' high scores, which might further incentivize potential customers to give the game a try.
The retro flavor of "Belle the Bear" could also tap into a powerful well of nostalgia for fans of "Frogger." Marketing with an old-school, referential feel appears to be increasingly popular with big-name brands, in both the music space and potentially in gaming as well.
"Belle the Bear" also has a more modern edge to the in-game content that might be a hook for younger groups like millennials. When the titular bear hits cannabis leaves, she turns into a gummy bear, and encounters with cocktails reverse the games' controls.