Case Study: In-Banner Golf Cart Game Drives Engagement


ADOTAS – When I was a cute youngster — before I became an ornery, pimply teenager — my father would take me out to the golf course with him on his birthday and give me a present — the chance to drive the golf cart. I guess it was a bit of a gift to him too, as he got a chauffeur for the day instead of having to hoof it around 18 holes with a bag of clubs on his back. Yes, a 10-year-old driving a golf cart was against club rules, but it was something I looked forward to every year — quality time driving underage and bucking authority with Dad.

My father’s birthday is coming up this week and I’ll be damned if I didn’t get nostalgic when MediaMind (recently acquired by DG) passed me this case study for “Tee Box Derby,” a bit of advergaming created in partnership with ad agency MeringCarson and creative agency Illusion Factory. Commissioned by the San Diego Convention & Visitors Bureau to draw attention to the county’s golf courses, the companies created an in-banner game in which browsers raced around accurate renderings of these golf courses.

A leader in rich media ad technology since it was known as Eyeblaster, MediaMind seems to have a real knack for advergaming — last year, the company worked with ThinkJam on an extremely addictive advergaming banner unit for the DVD release of the film “Predators,” in which a browser had to defend against and attack one of the infamous alien hunters across his/her browser screen.

(Suggestion for a sequel to “Tee Box Derby” — a demolition derby in which you can take on other cart drivers armed with a full set of clubs and perhaps exploding golf balls. Sand traps full of mines would also be awesome — have your people call my people.)

From MediaMind: Illusion Factory/MeringCarson Case Study — “3D Golf Game Drives Whopping User Engagement”


Advertising agency MeringCarson and creative agency Illusion Factory were tapped by the San Diego Convention & Visitors Bureau to promote the city as a premier resort and golf destination in San Diego’s North County. The agencies worked with MediaMind to bring to life San Diego’s three top golf courses by creating an online display ad that put users behind the wheel of a speeding golf cart. The Tee Box Derby is a fun, lighthearted game that reflects San Diego’s unique low key vibe and showcases the city’s premier golf courses: Torrey Pines, Maderas and Rancho Bernardo Inn.


MeringCarson and Illusion Factory wanted to highlight San Diego as a premier travel destination and leverage the Sand Diego brand platform to differentiate San Diego from other golf travel destinations.

“San Diego’s brand distinction lies with its inherent ability to inspire optimism and positivity for residents and visitors to the destination. We were excited to create a rich media ad that would capture the spirit of San Diego as well as showcase three of San Diego’s premier golf courses.”  — Janelle Okamoto, MeringCarson

Campaign Execution

The digital media campaign utilized a combination of demographic, behavioral and geographical targeting to reach golf enthusiasts who travel via a combination of ad network and content sites.

The rich media ad combined with the video that drove the gameplay required the ad to be synched to all the dynamic elements such as the golf cart animation, score, keyboard cues, gauges and video playback. 3D renderings of all three golf courses were used to engage users in a fun and interactive way. It allowed users to experience the golf destinations through the sunny outlook that encompasses San Diego.

The game consists of three levels with increasing difficulty and leaderboards that keep track of top ranking scores. The leaderboards give a competitive purpose to the ad, making the game more fun and more likely to shared amongst friends and/or rivals.


In-banner engagement averaged 90 to 163 seconds, depending on the publisher or ad network. Within the first two weeks of the campaign, the rich media banner creative served via the ad network achieved a 2.54% CTR, far exceeding both the travel category industry standard and past campaign performance for other creative executions served via the same network.


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