It’s (Diamond) Hunting Season

For four years, Gasser Fine Jewelers’ president Lurene Gasser has wanted to host a Diamond Hunt event. Last week, her ambition was finally realized when her Canton, Ohio, store completed a seven-week long Diamond Hunt that began in mid-August.   

In recent years, Gasser looked at trendy mobile device gaming, city-wide scavenger hunts, and traditional treasure hunts. But she wanted an event that would build momentum over an extended period of time, instead of something that would unfold in a single day.

Gasser Fine Jewelers’ Diamond Hunt was uniquely structured, ensuring that the mostly young bridal demographic age spread of 26 to 40 had increased exposure to the jewelry store’s website and Facebook profile page. 

The contest began Aug. 15. Participants had to complete an online form at the store’s main website to receive weekly clues to complete a crossword puzzle. (The clues were mainly geographic-based, emphasizing certain venues, landmarks, and historic buildings in the Canton’s downtown business district.) “Our store is located downtown,” says business manager Sheila Ritchie. “Part of the goal of the Diamond Hunt was to revitalize interest in downtown businesses.”

Each week, marketing coordinator Rebekah Berrick would send an e-newsletter to the Diamond Hunt participants. As participants drove, walked, or ran around downtown Canton solving the clues, answers filled in lines of a Diamond Hunt crossword puzzle.

If a participant got all the clues correct and filled in the correct information on the crossword puzzle, last week’s final e-newsletter of the Diamond Hunt revealed one line of text in the crossword puzzle that needed to be descrambled. This gave participants the final clue and exact location of where to find the $5,000 diamond on Friday, Oct. 7.

The completed crossword puzzle that gave Diamond Hunt participants the final clue to finding a $5,000 diamond

A man wearing the jersey of former NFL quarter back Warren Moon provided the hiding place for the diamond given away in the Diamond Hunt. It was in “Moon Man’s” pants pocket. He was instructed to wander around the corner of Cleveland Avenue and 4th Street Northwest wearing the pro-football Hall of Famer–turned–broadcaster’s jersey.

Gasser’s gave people plenty of time and opportunities to be part of the store’s Diamond Hunt. Although the contest began in August, people could register online for clues as late as noon on Friday, Oct. 6. “A backlog of clues could be accessed for those wanting to play catch up on the contest,” says Ritchie.

The contest proved to be a huge success. On average, the store’s main website receives 900 unique views per month. During the two-month event, that number rose to 4,000, according to Berrick.

The store’s Facebook profile, one of the main promotional platforms for the event, also greatly benefited. When the event started in August the store had around 500 to 600 likes. Today, it has more than 1,100.

Other promotional vehicles for the Diamond Hunt was their long-time radio partner Mix 94.1 (WHBC FM and 1480 AM), which promoted the contest daily and did a live remote from the store on their First Friday event in September. 

Promotional materials for Gasser Fine Jewelers’ Diamond Hunt had a seasonal Halloween component.

Arts in Stark, a local nonprofit group that offers grants and manages the city’s Cultural Center, also played a key role promoting the Diamond Hunt. Arts in Stark is also active in Canton’s downtown revitalization project. The group’s First Friday event for October was “Dancin’ in the Moonlight,” which gave the Diamond Hunt its timely Halloween witch theme.

The contest pulled in nearly 1,000 participants—roughly half of whom were new customers. The store was able to add 300 new names to its POS system’s customer database.

Before the contest began, Gasser and her staff had some concerns about maintaining interest in the contest over seven weeks. Those fears were put to rest in the first month when 276 entries were completed in the first week and 108 in the second week. “For the remainder of the contest, entries numbered in the 80s to 90s per week,” says Ritchie.

Participant and customer reactions to the contest were very positive—so much so that Gasser is already considering a 2012 Diamond Hunt.

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