The Giant Puzzle Campaign by Ravensburger Puzzles / Scholz & Friends, Berlin
By Hayley Honeycutt / CSUF
Imagine walking through the streets of Berlin- hearing cars whizzing by, enjoying the scenery, and coming across a gigantic Ravensburger puzzle box among a large pile of rubble. Well if you were walking along the streets of Berlin in 2008, that may have been exactly what you saw. In a creative move, Ravensburger, a German puzzle and toys manufacturer, partnered with Scholz & Friends ad agency to produce larger-than-life puzzle boxes:
The boxes were built near newly-demolished buildings featuring the White House, Neuschwanstein Castle, and St. Basils Cathedral.
Not only did these humongous puzzles drew attention from onlookers, but they also won many prestigious awards, such as Non-Traditional Media Silver from the London International Awards 2008, Best Use of Medium/Billboards from the New York Festival 2008 International Advertising Awards, Recreational Items Gold from the Clio Awards 2008, and many more.
Scholz & Friends is a full service ad agency that has been responsible for many successful campaigns and services in Europe and internationally. The four keys of Scholz &Friends’ creativity are orchestration, strategic competence, creative excellence, and international network. And with the giant puzzle campaign, it is safe to say that all four criteria were met.
The huge puzzle-box “billboards” installation are unique because they take something that was destroyed and give it the potential to be something else. Who would ever have thought that rubble from a building could be considered building-blocks for puzzle pieces.
If implemented in other countries/cultures as well, this ad campaign could have been successful across the board. The puzzles could have been placed in any other city in the world and received just as much notoriety. A puzzles is an international game that can be enjoyed by people all over the globe. Puzzles are one of the only games in existence that don’t require directions.
If Scholz & Friends wanted to take these billboards to the next level, they could have included in the rubble pieces that looked like they came from the structure in the picture, like colored pieces from the domes of St. Basil’s Cathedral. Another creative idea would have been to show the 3-D image of the buildings on the boxes so the actual “building” could be re-created from the wreckages.
A similar idea, of incorporating the city environment, was a hundred-foot-tall crossword puzzle that was put on the side of a Ukrainian apartment building recently. Unlike Ravensburger’s giant puzzles, this was not an ad campaign but rather an art installation.
The city of Lvov, Ukraine put the puzzle to attract more tourism. During the daylight, the puzzle looks like an empty one but at night, when special lights are on, the words in the puzzle become visible with a glowing fluorescent color.
The questions for this crossword puzzle were hidden in different point of interests around the city (scavenger hunt style), such as monuments, theaters, fountains etc. The idea was for tourists to roam around the city during the day, answer as many questions possible, and when night time comes, they can all meet outside the building and check how well they did.
Unlike Lvov’s crossword puzzle though, Ravenburger puzzles do not lead to viewers interaction. The idea is great, people stop by and are amazed by them, but the installation doesn’t lead to any further action or interaction between the brand and the consumer. Interaction → Experience → Involvement with the product → Greater brand awareness.
Ravensburger and Scholz & Friends could have also taken this campaign to the next level by involving other large cities internationally. More could have been done to create buzz about this campaign- release the “Making of” video, behind the scenes on how the giant boxes were constructed or even why they were created? How they came up with the idea? What was the inspiration? Let consumers build their own giant puzzles and make it a video contest, etc. Great ideas like this have great potencial.