MiC‘s K.I.S.S. pick: Ancient Egyptian e-nigmatic viral

When you think 'Egypt,' hieroglyphics may come to mind, and that's the idea behind one of the pass-along incentives just added to the Egyptian Tourism Authority's revamped website. Log on, compose an e-card, and it will arrive in exotic symbols - driving the recipient to the site for translation, plus a pitch.

Last week, the Egyptian Tourism Authority unveiled its cleverly reworked international website, which is part of an integrated marketing campaign designed to double the country’s global visitors to 16 million by 2014. Among a number of new interactive features is a hieroglyphics translation program enabling visitors to send e-cards in the ancient language of the Pharaohs.

Logging on automatically triggers response in whichever of six languages (soon to be expanded to nine) matches the electronic ID of the country of origin. The viral part of the exercise then kicks in as site visitors are invited to compose and send emails. The messages will arrive in hieroglyphic form – driving recipients to the tourist website for translation into their own languages (apparently Canadians all read French). When they’re on the site, the potential tourists are showered with pitches to see Egypt’s many treasures for themselves, and offered free subscriptions to a monthly newsletter, plus prizes and premium items through the LovEgypt Fan Club.