In the last 12 years, over four million geocachers have participated in one of dozens of geocaching-based Trackable promotions in partnership with adventurous brands around the globe. From John Grisham fans seeking gold ingot Geocoins to Jeep enthusiasts on the hunt for toy Jeeps, there are unique experiences for every type of geocacher.
Trackable promotions give geocachers a unique opportunity to engage with some of their favorite brands on a digital and physical level while spending time enjoying their hobby. Partnerships have included free Trackable giveaways, pre-release sneak peeks, and photo contests with prizes ranging from a set of new tires for your vehicle (road trip anyone?) to all expense paid trips. Each branded trackable builds a unique story as it travels. Trackables continue to generate engagement for years as geocachers discover and display these pieces of history at events, on social media, and online via their collection of unique digital icons (who wouldn’t want to collect a fancy little achievement for your profile page?) How many of these promotional Trackables have you spotted?
This was one of the first branded Geocaching promotions and the first time digital icons were introduced on geocaching profile pages. Over 24,000 Trackables were attached to Matchbox Jeeps and released in different color batches from 2004-2007. Jeep trackables have traveled over 16 million miles to date and have become a staple within the geocaching community. The first Yellow Jeep in the promotion was even inspired by the Yellow Jeep Fever, locationless cache, which was a life size jeep! Throughout the promotion Geocachers submitted photos and essays about the Trackables for a chance to win the top prize: a full size Jeep vehicle.
Doubleday publishing group’s 2012 Geocaching partnership focused on John Grisham’s new book “The Racketeer.” 5,000 custom gold ingot trackable geocoins were distributed to geocachers who then placed and moved them from geocache to geocache to mirror the book’s plot, in which ill-gained gold bars are moved around the United States. In addition to moving the ingot trackables over 17 million miles, geocachers showed off their photography skills for a chance to win the grand prize of a real gold ingot! The trackable program was paired with Facebook ads and geocachers flooded the John Grisham Facebook page, which gained 72,000 new Facebook fans and an increase in reach of 220% (according to Marketing Sherpa.)
GEICO’s 2011 Geocaching promotion released 9,000 Trackable tags designed in the shape of the iconic gecko mascot into the hands of geocachers across the United States. The tags were sent on their way while spreading awareness for the “Find the Gecko” sweepstakes in which one Magellan Explorist GC GPS unit was given away to a lucky geocacher winner each week of the 20 week promotion! The gecko trackables were moved by geocachers over 73,000 times and remain one of the most popular trackables being discovered around the world, averaging 29 touchpoints a day years later.
In 2014, Michelin celebrated their 125th Anniversary by launching a geocaching campaign to promote tire safety via a social media based photo contest. With 2,000 Trackable tags designed in the shape of a tire and attached to actual Michelin Man tire pressure gauges, geocachers were destined for success on the road. Geocachers across the United States tapped into their inner photography talent by submitting over 1,000 photos portraying a sense of adventure to the official photo contest by using the hashtag #MichelinQuest on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook. The Michelin Trackables have traveled almost 1.3 million miles in just 4 months and have saved many tricycle tires from getting too low on air.
Everyone is doing the Travel Bug® 2-Step. Here’s how. It begins a bit like dropping your kid off at school for the first time. He may cry and stomp his feet, refuse to walk into the classroom, but in the end you know he’ll make it through just fine. Your Travel Bug is much the same. It might be difficult to part, but because you’ve taken the two key steps to ensuring his journey is successful you know you’ll see him again (online):
1. Seal the Travel Bug in a small plastic bag to prevent damage from moisture.
No matter how cute that little toy might once have been, if it’s icky now most people will take a pass. Nobody likes picking up a dirtied, smelly Travel Bug…queue the Ziploc. Some Travel Bugs are even sent off with provisions: sewing kits, an extra key chain, or superglue. You decide what goes in your Travel Bug’s luggage.
2. Include a note with a description of your Bug’s goal
Put yourself in the place of a first-time geocacher. You probably know slightly more about rocket science than about trackable etiquette. As a trackable owner, it’s difficult to fault a newbie for accidentally moving your Bug in the opposite direction it wants to go…but you can certainly prevent it! Make it clear that your Travel Bug wants to visit every country in Europe with a monarchy by writing this clearly on a note. Not only will this ensure that your TB isn’t accidentally brought to Fiji, it will also introduce new geocachers to the idea of Travel Bug goals, so they look out for them in the future.
Geocachers who do the Travel Bug Two-Step help create the beautiful global choreography that unfolds in this Travel Bug® Travels video.
Geocaching trackables travel far and wide—hopping from geocache to geocache in the hands of geocachers. If we could hear the stories they had to tell, we’d have an endless supply of tales that include action, adventure, love and maybe even some sci-fi. We haven’t developed talking trackables just yet (soon?), but they can still tell a story via the pictures you post on the trackable’s page. The next time you pick up a Travel Bug or Geocoin, make sure to add to the story and post a photo of its journey to the next geocache. You could help tell a story like Kelly Frazee (geocaching name: kelwin).
Kelly recently had the opportunity to take a picture perfect bike tour across Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand—and she brought along the perfect travel companion: a Geocaching trackable. The trackable, “Picture This” (TBKXCT), is an ornate wooden frame and has the mission to collect as many interesting photos as possible. So as she pedaled along the Silk Roads, she took photos of the trackable and posted them in a note on the trackable’s page. Here are a few photos of this amazing journey:
Have you taken any trackables to amazing locations? Tell the story and post the photos below.
This holiday season one Geocaching gift will smile back at you as it travels the world, heck it might even wave. It’s the poseable and adorable trackable LEGO™ geocacher. Each LEGO™ geocaching adventurer features the Geocaching logo and a unique tracking code.
Launch the geocaching game piece on a mission to explore as it bounces from geocache to geocache and track the entire journey on Geocaching.com. It might even be tempted to take a trip the most favorited geocache in Germany, near LEGOLAND® Berlin.