Game Design

Solve the Mystery of Switchin' Secrets

Kraft Canada

Kool-Aid Magic Switchin' Secret

Target Audience:
Kids aged 5 to 15, (11yr. olds being the sweet spot)

Creative Challenge:
Create a unique online adventure game that captures the attention of 11-year-olds over the span of one summer, drive a significant increase in product sales, and reward players via sweepstakes and prize incentives.

The Solve the Mystery of Switchin' Secrets game immerses players in a world where time is suspended, magical creatures come to life, and mystery lurks around every corner.

Click here to see storyboards and ideas put to paper throughout creative process.

Technical Challenge:
Create a Flash MX engine that draws from XML to record precise object positioning for over 2000 static and animated objects - the basis of a magical world for kids.

The game engine must keep track of English and French usernames, sweepstakes entries, instant win prizes, secret items for game-play, backpack data for over 300,000 players, and support multiple languages with multiple legal requirements for French and English.

Driving Product Sales:
Players have to purchase Kool-Aid Magic Switchin' Secret drink mix to obtain passwords in order to play. Four unique passwords are printed inside KOOL-AID Magic Switchin' Secret packages, and 1 bonus password was published in a mystery location.

The Story:
Long ago, in a time before most can remember, there were 4 Secret Stars which shone with a magnificent light over MAGIC WORLD. Sadly, the magic of the 4 Secret Stars was lost in time. But, left behind were the mysterious Switchin' Secrets, scattered around MAGIC WORLD....It was said that one day a special person would come to MAGIC WORLD and uncover the Switchin' Secrets and find the Secret Stars! ... Could you be the one?..."

Branding is decidedly subtle in MAGIC WORLD - cherry and orange trees, strawberry bushes, a swirlin' rainbow pool, and tie ins with visuals from other media are all effective reminders that we're immersed in a flavourful world of wacky-wild Kool-Aid.

The Sticky Factor(s):
What's the secret that makes this game draw repeat visitors so well?

1st: For younger kids - and those in the sweet spot - the game is at least as much fun to play as it is to win! MAGIC WORLD engages the imagination of an 11-year-old and empowers the player with super-human powers (obtained from collecting secret items) that he can build incrementally with repeated game plays. These secret items, which are all linked in with the Kool-Aid "Get Stuff" program, help you overcome obstacles.

Kids (or parents) can collect and mail-in Kool-Aid points from Kool-Aid packages and redeem them for items like the Super Sonic Ear, the Spy Tracker System, or the Spy Night Scope (it lets you see in the dark!). You use these items in the game, AND can actually get them in real life through the Get Stuff program.

2nd: Fantastic prizes entice the older kids up to age 15 to keep coming back. The ultimate reward is to get 50 sweepstakes entries for a chance to WIN $10,000 cash! You get 10 sweepstakes each time you find a Secret Star, and 1 sweepstakes entry each time you complete a game. And, you never know when you might run into an Instant WIN Kool-Aid Jug and get any of 1,000 great prizes.

3rd: Every kid wants to be a hero. The story is progressive, luring players to explore, meet the challenges and complete the game. Time required to complete the Mystery is, at best, 16 hours, a fantastic online brand-interaction rate. Stats prove the kids really are sticking around to finish the game.

The depth of MAGIC WORLD:
In each of the 4 lands of MAGIC WORLD you'll find 2 games and 1 activity. Nine secret items are woven into the story. MAGIC WORLD is a challenge.

For instance, in order to find the Skateboarding game on Grape Island players must be able to walk on water. And for that players need the Aqua Boots. The Aqua Boots are hidden inside a bush, (we're not telling where), but players need the Hatchet to chop the bush and look inside.

Games and activities for different aptitudes, ages and interests:
Players find puzzles, matching games, riddles, and logic quandaries - players can race through the Mole Hole Maze, or navigate Berry Cherry Chasm while dodging gas bubbles and lava. A Secret Star is the goal.

Players also interact with the product through 4 Real World activities. Each requires that players use the product in a fun recipe or experiment, and then answer a question. The reward is one sweepstakes entry.

The end result is a unique, fun online promotion that integrates the brand, rewards kids and encourages them to buy the product. Everyone wins!