Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Paris: city of mystery

When it comes to Lovemarks you’d expect Paris to be right onto Sensuality and Intimacy, but it’s Mystery that drives one of the cleverest city promotions I have heard of for a while. This Lovemarks experience – because that’s what it must have been for the participants – was open to anyone who was in Paris on 5 July. Like many great ideas it comes out of something we loved as kids: a treasure hunt. Excitement, adventure, challenge and mystery. By following up a bunch of clues treasure seekers embark on a tour of the city. But this is not a Louvre on the left, Palais Royal on your right kind of gig. We’re talking some locations which are known only to the most local of locals so getting from clue to another demands more than solitary sleuthing. In some cases you even have to ask with real, live Parisians for directions through the maze of streets and alleys. Like all great treasure hunts the clues combine to lead you to one final mystery destination. As someone with a long and deep love of Paris, I know this is a city you can only get to know by getting lost in it. A treasure hunt sounds like the perfect way to do just that. Like so many Lovemarks, Paris gives up its secrets slowly, and there’s a lesson in that. Attracting people is not about giving away the store on first sight but creating layer upon layer of stories and experiences that draw people near. And the prize if you win the Paris Treasure Hunt? Obvious really. Entry to a secret Paris Cabaret which only opens once a year.