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Lara Croft ‘Tomb Raider Legend’ PR launch

Lara Croft ‘Tomb Raider Legend’ PR launch

This campaign from Taylor Herring won ‘Best Consumer Relations’ campaign in the 2007 PR Week Awards

Background

Following a critical mauling of 2004’s Tomb Raider videogame release ‘Angel of Darkness’ and the subsequent poor performance of last movie ‘Cradle of Life’ staring Angelina Jolie it looked like the Lara Croft brand was tired and the whole franchise has run out of steam.

UK game publisher and owner of the Lara Croft IP Eidos, needed the much improved 2006 game ‘Legend’ to be a success, not just to save the brand but it was crucial to the future of Eidos’s new owners SCI Entertainment.

Objectives

• Create significant coverage across media sectors at launch
• Position Tomb Raider: Legend as the ‘Must Have’ game for in 2006
• Create #1 hit at launch
• Re establish brands credibility with consumers and media

Campaign Strategy & Plan

THBC’s approach from the outset was to position the Lara Croft character as a celebrity and let the specialist videogame press communicate the quality of the game to core games fans.

The agency developed a 3 stage campaign utilising the brand assets – namely the new face of Lara, 20 year old unknown model Karima Adebibe and the brands significant cultural heritage.

The first stage of the campaign was vital to reinvigorate and generate new interest around the brand via hard hitting and controlled burst of media coverage.

The agency’s strategy approach to the model reveal was one similar to the unveiling of a supermodel as the new face of an underwear/cosmetics brand. The agency succeeded in marrying some strong controlled images with a compelling human interest story.

The agency also worked on a vote generation campaign in order to generate support for Lara Croft’s shortlisting in the Great British Design Quest for BBC’s Culture Show. Lara succeeded in reaching the last 10 alongside the Spitfire, the red phone box and eventual winner, Concorde.

THBC secured a series of exclusive articles to run on the day of reveal – Valentines Day, which also happens to be Lara Croft’s birthday.

A double page spread in the Sun, full pages in Evening Standard, Metro together with appearances on BBC News 24, Sky News Sunrise, London Tonight, Radio 5 Live amongst the broadcast coverage achieved and news articles were generated across every national newspaper and significant coverage across regional press ensured that mass consumer awareness significantly impacted on sales team pre orders across the nations retailers.

The agency focussed on Karima’s ‘rags to riches story’ having previous been employed as a check out assistant at fashion retailers Top Shop.

The second stage of the campaign focussed on feature generation which focussed on Karima’s transition to the world’s favourite cyber heroine. The agency worked with the British Army to create an SAS style training day on which journalists included the Sunday Telegraph joined Karima in training for the role.

Other major features secured included Zoo, Scottish Sun, Sunday Times Life in the Day, Daily Star Sunday, a Health and Fitness ‘work out like Lara’ feature and pieces in womens press including B Magazine.

Finally in order to focus on the game itself on launch the agency campaigned for, and was awarded a Guinness World Record for the Lara Croft character as ‘most successful computer games heroine’.

The agency timed the announcement to run on launch and news stories included Daily Star, Daily Express, a half hour slot on Simon Mayo’s Radio Five Live show 4 MTV/ VH1 shows. Launch broadcast coverage culminated in a live appearance on Holly & Stephen’s Saturday Showdown.

Measurement and evaluation

Each stage of the campaign achieved widespread media coverage. In terms of target tabloid press and men’s magazine coverage the campaign achieved two double page spreads and a full page review in The Sun, two full pages in Daily Star Sunday, a six page feature in FHM, five pages in Zoo and a page in Nuts.

Pieces in other dailies included front page Evening Standard Lite and full page news articles in Metro and Evening Standard and all key regional newspapers. Feature pieces included a full page in the Sunday Telegraph and a Day in the Life feature in the Sunday Times magazine.

Broadcast media coverage was also extensive and featured coverage on BBC News 24, Radio Five Live Mayo, Holly & Stephen Show ITV1, ITV1 London Tonight 3 x MTV and VH1 shows.

Results

Lara Croft Tomb Raider; Legend reached Number 1 on release in the UK and still remains in the top spot over 4 weeks later. The game is both the fastest and biggest selling video game of 2006 so far.

The title received excellent reviews across the media and the franchise is well and truly back on form.

Lara model Karima was invited to screen test for MTV, secured a major jeans brand ad campaign and the agency has been asked to consult on future Tomb Raider brand releases.

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