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Jacques-DAzur-It’s not often that we gets tip e-mails that start like this:

“I’m hoping your readers are interested in learning that French film producer/director and quintessential playboy Jacques D’Azur has reportedly disappeared while vacationing in the South Pacific. Jacques set sail on his yacht ‘Bridgette et Anna’ off Tahiti. After brief radio contact, there has been no further signs of Jacques or his yacht.”

Intrigued, I immediately hit Google with a search for “Jacques D’Azur”. It brought up a few things I was expecting; a (very active) Twitter feed, Facebook profile. But in addition, there were a remarkable number of credible-look blog posts stating that D’Azur was missing and the search was on for his long-lost heir. My ARG-senses were tingling.

And indeed, the Facebook page had a “Contest” tab. Odd for a high-profile missing person. Clicking on it reveals a video in which an expansive suite is being prepped for the Cannes Film Festival…including the rooms fridge being packed with ice-cold Stella Atrois. It seems that in Jacques D’Azur’s Last Will and Testament, he left his weekend in Cannes to an heir but the name is illegible and it’s up to the brand (and official sponsor of the festival) to find that heir and bestow on them all the rights and privileges that come with it.

It’s refreshing to see a brand taking such a creative approach to it’s marketing in a way that utilizes all the tools of social media to build a story around an event. It is reminiscent of Dos Equis “The Most Interesting Man in the World” campaign but giving the “Man” a name and using his personality to try to foster creative interaction from an audience with the promise of eventual reward. In fact, Stella will be giving out 50 VIPs cards giving access to accommodation in the famous Le Manoir de L’Etang hotel as well as Cannes Film Festival passes. They also have several events planned at the festival itself including live coverage and a party. Will the mysterious Jacques D’Azur make an appearance? There is only one way to find out.

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