Unilever is launching the second edition of its Magnum Pleasure Hunt game today, hoping to build on success of an effort that attracted 7 million players who spent an average of five minutes each on the game when it launched last year.
Pleasure Hunt 2, which like the original comes from Lowe Brindfors, Stockholm, has the female "pleasure seeker" character running through the streets of New York, flying through Paris and surfing through Rio de Janeiro making acrobatic grabs for the ever-elusive Magnum ice-cream bonbons.
Last year's game made it to the top of Twitter's trending topics the day of launch and created big expectations. Mick van Ettinger, global senior VP of Magnum, said he hopes Pleasure Hunt 2 enjoys the success of a movie sequel or gaming franchise.
Pleasure Hunt 2 integrates inspiration from vintage arcade games, with stronger production quality that includes more than 6,500 photos to create 3-D effects for each of the featured cities. The game also has more of a social dimension, adding a multiplayer element.
Pleasure Hunt became a trending topic last year purely on the power of "earned media" and its viral appeal, without paid media support, though Unilever later backed it with digital advertising that included a global homepage takeover on MSN. Unilever plans a similar approach this year, Mr. Van Ettinger said, including with Microsoft, whose Bing brand figures prominently in the new game.
Unilever is also adding local events -- a real-world, augmented-reality version of the Pleasure Hunt game to take place in the streets of Amsterdam on April 22 .
"Once we saw the success, it helped us get more investment behind it," Mr. Van Ettinger said.
Non-Unilever brands incorporated into the game, including jeweler Bulgari, surf gear brand Quicksilver, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and Hotel Fasano in Rio, provided their intellectual property free in return for their exposure.
"We approached them with the proposition that you're not going to get any money from us, and we don't want any money from you," Mr. Van Ettinger said. "We want you as partners in the game to make it even more engaging."