Hidden Retreat

Digital and Experience, Public Relations

The Challenge:

Adventure has always been at the heart of Kathmandu’s business. For the leading travel and adventure brand’s Summer 2018 campaign, Kathmandu wanted to promote its camping range by encouraging fans to embrace their inner explorer and get outdoors. To make this a reality, Keep Left planned a social media led campaign that seamlessly combined the digital world with the real one.

The ‘Hidden Retreat’ was a live scavenger hunt where new and existing fans could unlock a series of clues on social media to find a secret campsite hidden away in the Great Australian Outdoors. The first person to find the campsite would win a $6000 Kathmandu kit – a prize that attracted some of the country’s most enthusiastic adventurers.

The Execution:

The Keep Left team created a 20-second teaser video, which was posted on Facebook and Instagram to announce the start of the mysterious treasure hunt. This was shot at Kinglake National Park (the campsite location) and gave entrants visual clues on how to get there. The teaser video was distributed by Parks Victoria and celebrity influencer and outdoor enthusiast, Jules Lund. Their combined reach meant the video achieved almost a quarter of a million views, and on the day of the event, guests spoke about how intently they watched the teaser video to look for hints.

The Keep Left team then developed a series of cryptic clues which were drip-fed across Kathmandu’s social channels in the leadup to the event. These included dynamic videos, motion graphics and visuals that highlighted the natural environment of the campsite. The clues were carefully planned to gradually reveal more about the location. The online conversation was overwhelming. In fact, engagement on the Kathmandu page was so high, that organic reach outperformed paid reach, thus allowing the paid campaign to be turned off.

You could almost say it went viral!

The Results:

At the end of the campaign, Keep Left reached 3.9 million people through eight pieces of earned editorial content including Concrete Playground, The Urban List and Pedestrian TV. Their paid social media strategy through Jules Lund, Wombat and NOVA was also a success with almost 1.5 million social impressions and an increase in the number of entrants to follow the event. Kathmandu’s own social media channels performed extremely well with 1,031,029 impressions, 226,957 video views and 15,948 engagements recorded in the lead up to the competition. While these results are outstanding, the real impact of the social media strategy occurred in the real world. The excitement around the hidden retreat motivated over 100 people to travel to Kinglake to find the grand prize. These participants stayed to interact with the influencers and Kathmandu team after the competition, personalising the brand and helping it connect with fans on a more intimate level than ever before.

The Verdict:

Hidden Retreat proved that the true power of social media lies in its ability to connect a brand to its fans and encourage conversation. The innovative scavenger hunt showed how social media can be harnessed to inspire adventure. Mobile technology doesn’t have to inhibit outdoor exploration, in fact, it can encourage it.