Hi Lovie Awards judges, this is the case for The Mystery of the Missing Toys by bol.com

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This year Dutch online retailer bol.com doubled the downloads of their “Big Toys App”, overachieved on engagement targets, let children play a grand total of over 6.3 million interactive games. All of this is the result of the biggest interactive Holiday adventure of the Netherlands (and Belgium) yet: The Mystery of the Missing Toys.

Understanding tradition

Sinterklaas (The Dutch Santa Claus) is the biggest Dutch holiday tradition where parents…ahum.. we mean Sinterklaas… surprises children with gifts – mostly toys – for an entire month. To make this tradition more fun for the kids, and easier for the parents,  Dutch online retailer bol.com launched a beautiful toy-book. The aptly named “Big Toy-Book” is delivered to practically every household in the Netherlands and Belgium around mid October, right on time for the holiday season and the making of wish lists to begin.

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The business challenge: increase downloads and scans of the Big Toy app

After the success of the Big Toy-Book we launched the ‘Big Toy-App’ last year. The app makes the Toy-Book experience even more magical for the kids by letting them scan all their favorite toys and collect fun content – like images, video’s and quizzes. We’ve noticed a significant purchase increase with families who use the ‘Big Toy-App’. Why? Because the data from the app helps parents know which toys their kids want. Making the shopping experience as easy and seamless as possible means a greater lock-in with these parents.  
It was clear that we have the perfect recipe for happy families and good sales. So our challenge this year? Even more downloads, more engagement, and more magic.

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We made the app part of every child’s fantasy

We knew we needed to engage kids with more than just quizzes and video’s. Something magical that would keep their attention for the entire holiday period and even get them talking about the app with their friends. Our solution was to make the app and all its functions part of the holiday magic, giving it a place in childrens’ imagination and stories.

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The Interactive adventure begins

A few weeks before the arrival of Sinterklaas we launched a national commercial on TV and in Cinemas. An important message to all children from none other than Sinterklaas himself.
The message?

“The Toys! They vanished! And Sinterklaas needs your help to find them back.”

All that kids had to do was to download the “Big Toy-App” to start the adventure and help Sinterklaas solve “The Mystery of the Missing Toys”.

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The mystery took kids on a 2-month journey

The Mystery of the Missing Toys took kids on a two month long adventure together with Sinterklaas. More than 40 educational games were developed, in which children had to find the lost toys with the help of “The Big Toy-Book”. Solving puzzles, singing songs, reading, counting and of-course: scanning toys! The games used the latest tech to make them as fun as possible. Small animations, sounds, sensor input, haptic feedback and AR were used.

The UX was especially designed for children. Extensive research was done to create the perfect UX. Mapping and testing determined the best flow, orientation, navigation and iconography, taking into consideration that a lot of the kids couldn’t read.

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We kept the kids engaged using rewards and inspiration

After asking consent from parents – the kids would be rewarded with unique toy stickers after every step in the adventure. Collecting the stickers gave them a reason to look forward to the next game and something to talk about with their friends. And those who collected all stickers and solved the Mystery were rewarded with the highest honor of all: The official Sinterklaas assistant-diploma.

Campaign & Influencers tactic

Next to releasing the TV and Cinema commercials we partnered with a carefully selected range of influencers to encourage and inspire kids to help Sinterklaas solve The Mystery of the Missing Toys. We created a tactical mix of Instagram, TikTok and YouTube influencers who played the mystery along with the kids. Creating buzz every time we released a new piece of the story.

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The results broke all expectations

Kids loved the adventure and broke most of the ambitious objectives. The number of users and time spent in the app of the app doubled.  

Kids played, scanned, and made wishlists in the app as their hearts desired. Kids scanned a record-number of toys beating the target with 157%. A total of more than 6 million (!) games were played (254% of target reached). The amount of digital wishlists sent through the app was six times higher than expected (665% of target reached)! 

Other app targets were achieved with flying colors as well, aimed at better onboarding (182% of target reached), linking bol.com customer accounts in the app (237% of target reached) and to let kids scan more toys than last year (157% of target reached). 

And this led to a big holiday gift for bol.com: 13% more customers than the previous year, resulting in an impressive 25% Sint sales growth compared to the year before, reaching the highest market share ever recorded for bol.com in the crucial November month.


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