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How Nature Valley and VMLY&R turned quarters into National Park passes

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By Awards Analyst, writer

December 7, 2022 | 3 min read

VMLY&R Commerce USA won the Chair Award, Consumer Products or Services, Best Digital Transformation, Technical Innovation and UX Usability at The Drum awards in the Digital Industries category for its Adventure quarters campaign. Below, we outline the driving idea behind the campaign, and the results that it produced.

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Credit: Nature Valley

VMLY&R Commerce USA designed a digital tool powered by artificial intelligence (AI) which turns data from “America the Beautiful” quarters into a pass which grants access to National Parks. Fans could use their mobile phones to scan the quarters to “unlock park facts and instant rewards,” per VMLY&R’s website.

The brief: US National Parks — despite their abundance and accessibility — were losing visitors in 2022. This was a problem for General Mills-owned snack brand Nature Valley, which had a long-running partnership with the National Parks and had always positioned its products as being the perfect fit for outdoor adventures. And so the brand found itself looking for a way in which it could rekindle Americans’ interest in going outside while, of course, taking Nature Valley bars along for their adventure. They would find their solution in billions of tiny objects that many of us carry around in wallets and purses hardly without noticing — quarters.

The idea: Thus began the Adventure quarters campaign in partnership with VMLY&R. The campaign was driven by the insight that the roughly 19 billion “America the Beautiful” quarters that were in circulation — each of which featured a design depicting a US National Park — could instantly be turned into tickets, unlocking a 25% discount for Nature Valley products, as well as experiences across the United States’ vast National Park system. The agency developed an AI-powered system which allowed users to scan quarters on a web-based platform (as opposed to a downloadable app).

The results: The digital tool reportedly received more than 15,000 visitors and 31mn media impressions, while driving Nature Valley sales by more than 28%.

This campaign won the Chair Award, Consumer Products or Services, Best Digital Transformation, Technical Innovation and UX Usability at The Drum Awards 2022. You can see all the winners here.

The Drum Awards for Marketing are currently open for entry. Find out how you can enter now.

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