‘Departure Roulette’ Sends Travelers to Surprise Destinations

Exotic destinations offered by the beer maker that sponsored the game ranged from Patagonia to Morocco

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On Monday, Heineken unveiled a marketing stunt in which travelers at New York’s John F. Kennedy airport were asked to ditch their current plans for a game of “Departure Roulette.” Travelers who happened to pass by Terminal 8 were given the opportunity for an adventure of a totally different kind, and asked to exchange their current plans for new ones.

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Those who decided to take the challenge were then asked to press a red button on a billboard showing them their destination. Those who were spontaneous enough to brave the unknown were rewarded with spectacularly exotic destinations such as Morocco, Thailand and Cyprus. They were also given $2,000 for expenses, along with two free hotel nights for their trip.

But it turns out that many people weren’t up for the challenge – some cited business trips and bachelor parties while others just wanted to go home. Still others admitted that they just weren’t adventurous enough. “This was an experiment,” Bram Reukers, a Heineken brand manager, told the New York Times. “The people had to change their plans, drop everything and go someplace completely new. Only a few people were actually interested.”

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Not just anyone could participate in the experimen. Travelers between the ages of 25 and 40 who were bearing tickets and passports were sought out by representatives for logistical and legal reasons. They were then asked to sign a waiver before being entered into a random drawing held every hour.

The marketing stunt was initially meant to bring attention to a series of webisodes produced by the Dutch brewery, entitled “Dropped,” which follows four men who are randomly dropped into remote areas of the world. Maybe after that, Marrakesh doesn’t look so bad after all.