• Mark Gash

The Story of Ginsly

Murder-mystery, choose-your-own-adventure and how gamification can facilitate product buy-in



It’s hard to write a blog this year without COVID-19 being mentioned somewhere in the text, so I’m going to get it out of the way right at the start. The events of 2020 have forced businesses to look at new ways of operating, whether it’s something as simple as holding meetings over Zoom or applying a radical digital transformation plan to their entire organisation. Most companies will fall somewhere between the two - trying to maintain business as usual but having to rethink how they engage with their audience, at a time when their customers can’t physically access their products and services.


As a provider of online training solutions - platforms, courses, resource banks etc - adaptiVLE have been well-placed to help training companies flip their business online. Trainers who used to stand in front of employees in hotel conference suites, staff rooms or classrooms can take advantage of our services and be up-and-running with an online training academy in a matter of weeks. They can present live classes, pre-recorded classes, assessments, games and activities with 24/7 access for their client base. Which is brilliant if you’re in the training industry but what if you own a business that could potentially benefit from all of the above and sells something like…. gin?



Right back at the start of the year, we had an interesting conversation with one of the nation’s gin distillers, who we can’t name for all sorts of reasons. Aside from distilling gin and selling it in a fancy shop, they also delivered gin workshops. Anybody who has been part of, or witness to, a hen party in a busy city on a Saturday tea-time, will be familiar with the sight of a group of ladies stood around a swarthy barman, learning how to mix cocktails as a prelude to some serious drinking later in the evening. A gin workshop is similar but hosted in the distillery and with fewer ‘L’ plates and feather boas.


The distillery we were speaking to was looking to start hosting these workshops online, as a way to reach more people. The idea would be for them to send out a box of miniatures and host a gin-mixing party over Zoom. Of course, we could help them with this but it seemed a bit pedestrian and we decided to come up with something much more interesting and engaging.


Recent years have seen the rise of escape rooms and even the Crystal Maze has been resurrected as both a TV show and an experience in Manchester. Taking our cue from these, we proposed combining the live hosting element of the virtual gin experience with an interactive video adventure. We built up a back story based around the gin’s heritage and interwove this with local history to create a murder-mystery gin experience.


Customers would be invited to a virtual version of the distillery, where their live host would inform that there had been a murder and even more concerning, that the secret formula for their flagship gin had been stolen. The aim of the experience would be to follow clues, explore maps and solve online puzzles to discover the culprit. Along the way, their live host would furnish customers with gin facts, aid them in creating their own formulas and invite them to sample various gins as a reward for each successful puzzle solved. Prizes would be up for grabs in the form of vouchers. which could be redeemed in the distillery shop.


Best of all, the adventurers would join an elite club of gin sleuths, with their own logins to an ongoing membership site containing offers and exclusive content. New adventures could be launched and customers invited back. Referral schemes and a subscription service could be built into the platform. It would have been the perfect solution should a global pandemic ever strike and leave businesses unable to welcome customers into distilleries and shops.


Then the coronavirus happened and before any of these plans could be put into place, the distillery disappeared overnight. But our ideas didn’t.


You can watch a trailer of the concept below (rebranded as Ginsly to protect the innocent) and scroll further down to play a demo.



Click the image below to play the Ginsly demo.


If your company is struggling and is looking for ways to engage with your customers, get in touch. We’re full of ideas and we love a chat!


Call o113 833 0261 or fill out our contact form here.

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