Best practice from Brando.
EA briefed Brando to launch the hotly anticipated 'Left 4 Dead 2' zombie survival game to the wider consumer lifestyle media.
In the run-up to Christmas 2009, the game faced fierce competition from other titles including the mega-popular 'Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2' and the equally impressive Assassin’s Creed 2.
Brando was therefore forced to come up with a strategy that gave L4D2 a prolonged share of voice within the media alongside anything these other titles generated, with considerably lower budgets.
Brando was tasked with targeting a similar, predominantly male, youth gamer audience with positive reviews and awareness raising coverage in the run-up to and surrounding retail launch date of November 2009.
Raise awareness, talkability and anticipation of the games arrival outside of the traditional core gaming media.
Strategy and creative
Brando’s strategy was to gradually build awareness by mimicking the behaviour of the spread of a virus by heralding the arrival of the game as if it was an impending pandemic we labeled L4D2 or ‘Zombie Flu’…
Was all about preparing the nation for the imminent arrival of a virus that threatened to turn everyone in to zombies if we didn’t prepare ourselves and learn a few basic zombie survival techniques.
First off, we created a spoof survivor’s viral video, filmed from the shed of a pair of unlikely heroes (think Shaun of the Dead meets Laurel and Hardy!) and then seeded this online using social media and online editorial. We also targeted zombie/horror fan-bases increasing the awareness and anticipation of the game’s arrival outside of just core gamers.
Shortly after our viral training video took hold we hosted a press experience to train journalists in zombie combat techniques. Targeted media received expert instruction from mercenaries in fighting techniques using everything from an M16 assault rifle to a household frying pan – all of which were weapons that featured in the game. Journalists were then escorted to the practical where they got to try out their techniques in-game as part of their review.
Additionally, to increase the hype and front-end coverage around the on-shelf date for L4D2, Brando also:
Identified and sponsored an actual zombie wedding in the UK, hiring a hearse in place of a wedding limo and sending the (un)dead happy couple off to Orlando where the game was based for their honeymoon
Phase 3 – launch weekend
Finally, we turned a famous London boozer into the Severed Arms Pub for the weekend of game launch where zombies ran the pub complete with our celebrity zombie barmaid (Jennifer Metcalfe. Punters also got to play the game for free all weekend at their leisure thanks to dedicated gaming pods we installed.
• Hosted at the end of October 2009, our viral received over 150,000 views in it’s first 8 weeks, with over 97,000 on YouTube alone to by the end of 2009 – in fact it is the fastest growing viral to be shown on EA Vision (EA’s online channel) to date
• The entire campaign achieved an AVE of £905,400, an ROI of over 10:1, over 10.3 million circulation and 45million+ global social media reach
• Our press experience received accolades from key media stating it was the best launch / experience they had ever attended
• In the midst of some very fierce competition from other rival titles, L4D2 was nominated for and won the ‘Best Multiplayer’ category at the Gaming BAFTAs
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