Video case study: Google car wreck hoax gets book small shop 300% more visits

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This clever little marketing campaign created a 13% sales boost for a small book shop in Switzerland. With more travel research being conducted online, the Travel Book Shop highlighted the limits of the internet with a video showing a crashed Google Streetview car- generating plenty of buzz in the process.

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Brand: Travel Book Shop | Sector: retail, Books | Country: Switzerland | Agency: WIRZ BBDO | Objective: Build brand awareness | Format: YouTube, Video, Social Media, Flickr |

Swiss book retailer Travel Book Shop tasked agency WIRZ BBDO, Zurich to come up with a campaign to extoll the virtues of travel books over the internet.

With the rapid rise of Google maps and sites like Trip Advisor, printed maps and travel guides can be a tough sell. However, they do offer assurance, dependability and locations that are more off the beaten path.

Building on this, the agency created the campaign under the tagline: ‘The adventure starts where the internet ends’ creating social media buzz around a Google-Street-View car that crashed when it went off the beaten path and was simply left in the wilderness.

Seeding a short clip on YouTube of a man throwing stones and at the wreck of a seemingly abandoned Google Streetview car, the campaign soon generated buzz as viewers discussed the validity of the video… and the merits of travel books over the internet.

The hoax went viral, and got coverage on some of Switzerland's biggest news publications, where it was read by 200,000 people. A Flickr account also posted seemingly genuine photos of the team next to the car, wearing a 'Travel Book Shop' T-Shirt.


The video linked back to the Travel Book Shop, and traffic boomed by 300%, resulting in a sales uplift of 13% compared to the previous year.

View the original 'Google Car fail' video that was seeded on YouTube here:

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