Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Geocaching on a pair of Timberlands

Last week, 24 caches in parks around 6 cities in Europe have been published related to the Nature Needs Heroes campaign. Nature needs heroes is the latest campaign of shoes and clothing brand Timberland. All over Europe these caches caused noise. Why is Groundspeak allowing these commercial caches?

First of all, commercial caches are allowed with special permission from Groundspeak, see the last remark from the guidelines below:

"Commercial caches are disallowed. As a general rule, reviewers will not publish cache pages that seem commercial. A commercial cache has one or more of the following characteristics:

* It requires the finder to go inside a business, interact with employees and/or purchase a product or service.
* It has overtones of advertising, marketing or promotion.
* It contains links to businesses, commercial advertisers, charities, political agendas or social agendas.
* It contains the logo of a business or organization, including non-profit organizations.
* The name of a business or commercial product is on the cache page.
* On very rare occasions, Groundspeak makes an exception for a commercial cache. Arrangements are made before placement. If your cache is commercial in any way, please contact Groundspeak for clarification about how to comply with cache listing guidelines."

This way, Groundspeak has given itself the possibility to limit the commercial use of geocaching to those exceptional cases where there is something in it for them, which is quite fair I think. With the current amount of active geocachers worldwide, Groundspeak would be an interesting party for a lot of brands to make their message heard, like Timberland. This could be another significant source of revenue, besides the webshop, site banners and premium membership.

However, Groundspeaks Financial lackey Bryan Roth explained to me by mail that Groundspeak has cooperated with Timberland cost neutral, which means they have not gained any money on the promotion. According to Bryan, the main driver for Groundspeak to work with Timberland was to introduce new audiences to geocaching.

For Groundspeak and Timberland, the knife of the Nature Needs Heroes campaign cuts on both sides. The Timberland brand is introduced to the geocaching community and I think, there will be a phase 2 where Timberland is going to promote the caches to their audience and spread the message of geocaching.

I already blogged in May last year that Groundspeak is not considering geocaching as a secret hobby. As already said last year, more geocachers equals more fun for other geocachers and more money from premium memberships and site banners. This campaign is certainly not going to be the last campaign. While you might waste your time on complaining about this, I am looking forward to the creative caches placed by people wearing Timberland shoes and I just hope they are just a big adventure as this:

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