Winning the online mystery game: Eaton’s Ticket of Terror

Eaton: , ,


Power Management is a commoditized and undifferentiated category thanks to largely passive products, such as backup batteries and commercial-grade surge protectors that perform straightforward functions.

Within this category, Eaton is an underdog, trailing in a market dominated by APC by Schneider Electric. APC’s 78% familiarity and 63% market share dwarfs Eaton’s Power Quality division of 39% and 17%, respectively. Even those who know of Eaton Power Quality products are only in the market for them once every 3-5 years, so sales are few and far between.

To punch above their weight, Eaton needed to win hearts and minds by:

  • Seizing the attention of time-strapped IT pros
  • Demonstrating Eaton’s superior understanding of IT professionals, in both message and medium
  • Persuading a skeptical audience who dismisses marketing that lacks substance and authenticity

Eaton’s engagement needed to do all this while being outspent and outproduced by competitors. This necessitated an approach that simultaneously appealed to IT pros’ quirky and confident personal nature while delivering the product-specific goods to meet their professional needs. An approach that ultimately left no question that Eaton is the sympathetic ally IT pros didn’t know they needed.


IT professionals are always one tech ticket away from disaster – trapped in a vicious cycle where solving problems trumps preventing them.

Through Eaton’s past campaigns, brainstorms with IT pros, and interviews with product experts, we developed a keen sense of what keeps IT pros up at night – literally and figuratively. They’re typically one of few technical experts embedded in organizations – schools, banks, hospitals, etc. – who perform non-technical functions.

This makes them the first, last, and only line of defense against all tech problems – from daily “emergencies” (printer jams, forgotten passwords) to critical big picture initiatives (cybersecurity, disaster prep). So IT pros must have (or find) the answer to every question that comes their way.

The toughest part? Even their most heroic IT efforts go unnoticed or under appreciated, because no one in their organizations understands technology quite like they do. But Eaton does.

And like every IT pro, Eaton is an IT underdog. So our experience needed to reflect that. It needed to give IT pros credit for making the tough calls. Reward their problem-solving skills. Celebrate their geekiness. And perhaps most importantly, deliver a moment of much-needed relief, just like Eaton’s products.


Ticket of Terror – an online mystery game that comically dramatizes common IT headaches and demonstrates how Eaton can solve them.


Ticket of Terror is a mobile-first, choose-your-own-adventure style mystery. IT pros must sleuth their way around a virtual server room, collecting clues to:

  • Power down the “possessed” computer
  • Catch the mischievous desk toy responsible for the turmoil
  • Leave work on time

The bite-sized experience was broken into two cases, to be an accessible diversion in an IT pro’s busy day:

  • Case #1 – moderate difficulty with streamlined twists, turns and Eaton clues
  • Case #2 – more dead ends, trickier clues and a more elusive culprit

The ability to explore the game’s many paths was appealing, leading our audience to play through the full experience an average of three times. Their adventurousness was rewarded with geeky Easter eggs, dead-end scenarios, and themed prizes. More importantly, each new clue revealed how Eaton’s products and services could solve our virtual scenario as well as their own real-life IT crises, resulting in fewer late-night server mishaps.

Communications strategy

To engage and educate IT pros on how Eaton’s power management products could bring sanity to their workdays, we built a brand experience disguised as a game. And to grab the audience’s attention, we advertised it like a game. This differentiated media approach, developed hand-in-hand with the creative, took cues from successful mobile and video game ad strategies, resulting in new B2B tactics:

  • Promote it like a game, not like a promotion: Driving brand awareness and reach through long-form, high-impact placements (e.g. teaser videos and interactive scrollers) in highly-targeted programmatic channels and YouTube.
  • Go where the gamers are to convert them: Capitalize on the brand exposure with conversion-driven direct response executions, creating a strong, holistic story arc.
  • New levels are newsworthy: Creating two mysteries gave us two opportunities to announce the game in our various media channels, allowing us to retarget those who played the first mystery to drive reengagement.
  • Everybody loves prizes: Preserving a classic, hard-working promotional tactic, we used a 12-week prize period to drive urgency and create a reason to provide accurate contact information to generate leads.

We also employed a choreographed framework of paid and owned tactics which helped reach targeted audiences, old and new.

Media strategy

A choreographed framework of paid and owned tactics helped reach targeted audiences, old and new:


  • Rented lists/emails: New and legacy email partners drove familiarity within targeted audiences.
  • Native programmatic & direct to publisher: Video, animated and static placements in highly targeted programmatic and direct-to-publisher placements resulted in efficient cost per conversion.
  • Paid social media: Facebook, LinkedIn & Reddit reached untapped audiences and retargeted engaged users, which we optimized through creative and audience testing.


  • Organic social media: Social content engaged current Eaton followers over the length of the promotion.
  • Campaign site: Marquees on the client’s content hub drove traffic to the promotion, capitalizing on organic and paid traffic from other sources.
  • House emails: Emails sent to owned lists announced each mystery.


Ticket of Terror was Eaton’s most successful promotion ever, setting all-time high-water marks.

Measureable objectives

Because of the category’s 3–5 year purchase cycle, sales was never our goal. Instead, we aimed to lay the groundwork by generating leads and building brand familiarity so when the moment of sale comes around, Eaton is top-of-mind.

We did this by setting aggressive goals in two areas, aiming to beat the past five years of benchmarks in both.

Ticket of Terror shattered expectations, driving a record high 1053% ROI with $4.3 million in sales potential for Eaton Power Quality. As the brand’s most efficient and effective promotion to date, we captured and captivated more IT pros than ever, setting up the client for a potential windfall in the years to come.

Generating qualified leads:

The promotion drove the highest number of qualified leads – and highest percentage of net new leads – in promotion history, since 2014.

  • KPI – Qualified leads captured: 8,356 (+58% of historic benchmark)
  • KPI – New leads captured: 6,660 (+108% of historic benchmark)
  • KPI – Sales potential: $4.3 million (+43% of historic benchmark)

Raising brand familiarity & image:

Off-the-charts engagement numbers were headlined by an engagement time 20x higher than our benchmark, with each IT pro going through the complete experience an average of nearly 3 times.

  • KPI – Engagement time per user: 22:43 minutes (20x higher than benchmark)
  • KPI – Games played: 2.9x per person
  • KPI – Page views: 78,545

Engagement resulted in hitting the 48% benchmark for brand familiarity lift, despite bringing in more than double the amount of new leads unfamiliar with the Eaton brand.

  • KPI – Familiarity lift: 48% lift for new leads (matching historic benchmark)

In addition to surpassing all our goals, a newly integrated media approach reversed a downward trend in effectiveness by using new channels and tactics to reach a fresh crop of IT pros (i.e. Reddit ads and interactive scrollers).