Google has teamed with Sony Pictures Entertainment's Columbia Pictures to create a puzzle-themed 24-day contest for the studio's upcoming "Da Vinci Code" film. The program, which lets people opt-in to see contest updates on their personalized Google home pages, exemplifies the publisher's efforts to take its relationships with marketers beyond paid search ads.
"This is really something new for us and we're looking to do maybe a handful of these a year," Dylan Casey, brand and entertainment manager for Google, told ClickZ. "It's something we're interested in pursuing to see how we can interact with our users and get some feedback as to how Google works as a platform for these types of initiatives."
When users opt-in to add the "Da Vinci Code Quest on Google" module to their home pages, each day they see a link to a different puzzle. Once solved, each puzzle introduces a riddle that calls for the player to use Google Search, Google Maps, Google SMS or Google Video. Agency Big Spaceship worked with Google and Sony on the look and feel of the puzzles and microsite elements. The contest is aimed at audiences in the U.S., the U.K. and Australia. The film, starring Tom Hanks, debuts in the U.S. on May 19.
Casey said characterizing the partnership as an advertising deal would be a mistake. Implying that no cash changed hands, Casey referred to it as a "highly collaborative project" which sprung from the two companies' work together on AdWords campaigns for Sony Pictures films.