The second installment in our “Digital Marketing We Love” takes a turn for the nerd as we take an analytical look at the video game market. Hopefully, you’re a PlayStation person, if not, I’ll try not to hold that against you. The video game market is valued at 18.4 billion in the U.S. as of 2017. In this massive consumer market, some franchises manage to do marketing extremely well, and today I want to highlight my pick for a game with the most marketing…game—well, you get what I mean.
Odds are you have seen an Assassin’s Creed television trailer, an advertisement for the game on your home gaming console, or the occasional super fan wearing game memorabilia—admittedly, I’m one of them. Assassin’s Creed has been a blockbuster hit since the release of the original game in 2007 and up until the latest release from the 20 game franchise released by Ubisoft; Assassin’s Creed Origins in 2017. Not into video games? You can still take away some great marketing tips from their kick-ass launch campaign.
As Marketing Supply Co.’s resident video game aficionado, I wanted to push my video game agenda on the world (and maybe get some props from the genius content creators themselves, yes Ubisoft, I am talking to you).
Building game hype is everything.
Hitting every social media platform with ambiguous marketing that intrigues long-time fans of the franchise with suspense around where the game will be set, what updates to the game interface have been made, and who your mystery protagonist is key to launching an actual campaign in the world of gaming.
A later Tweet revealed that E3 2017 would announce the details of the game and offered an email subscribe CTA to stay up-to-date with the latest information from Ubisoft and YouTube.
When E3 finally announced that the game would take place in ancient Egypt, it was non-stop, high-quality content across all channels.
Since Origins had some amazing gameplay scenes and interesting characters and locales, their social team chose to profile each separately and phase in gameplay and cutscene trailers throughout their feed.
As any gamer knows, YouTube is your best friend. From walkthroughs to spoilers—if you are into that sort of thing—YouTube is your go-to source. https://gaming.youtube.com/ are YouTube gaming channels dedicated solely to specific games. By June 2017, Assassin’s Creed Origins was the #1 mentioned game on social media.
Offering cross-franchise DLC (or downloadable content for noobs) is a great way to promote one game’s series to strong fans of another. Assassin’s Creed Origins did a great job of this with their cross-promotion with Final Fantasy XV which has a strong following of its own. Since I already had FFXV at the time, I got to experience some of the elements of the Assassin’s Creed Origin game in an entirely different setting and vice versa.
Being our resident email marketing guru (what don’t I do?), I really appreciate a well-executed email campaign. Ubisoft came into this campaign strong with hype-building, content-heavy emails.
Then drove home exclusivity with pre-order CTAs in every shape and color:
October 23rd, 2017. A really good day for me.
Anyone who was jazzed enough to pre-order the exclusive DLC was rewarded with an extra 10-15 hours of gameplay. Pair that with the emails, SMS text messages, and social media posts that targeted me about in-game purchases for additional game add-ons—let’s just say I was pretty invested at this point (I know I have a problem, and the first step is admitting it).
Keeping users engaged with a role-playing game can be difficult. Generally, these games are a one-and-done experience for most gamers. However, Ubisoft has kept my interest with this game in-particular through their use of additional DLC, user-generated content, and a new social photo sharing feature in the game itself.
The Assassin’s Creed Origins team took the same approach to user content and DLC as they did with the game launch itself. Build suspense, drop a date, rake in the cash.
Months after the game’s release, photo contests for the best theme pics from in-game action made every gamer a professional photographer. I myself logged on and adventured around for hours just looking for the perfect shot (not winning any contests over here though).
All the DLC for Assassin’s Creed Origins is essentially additional missions that extend the story, gameplay, and abilities of your character. I can honestly say that I didn’t see one channel that wasn’t letting me know about the latest and greatest in the Assassin’s Creed world.
Pinned Tweets about the most recent DLC and in-game content:
Followed up with social community events to defeat common foes:
Taking the time to let a franchise breathe can lead to great things. Ubisoft was determined to make Assassin’s Creed an annual franchise, resulting in games that hit the market before they were ready and severe fan burnout. Ubisoft took some time to let Assassin’s Creed rest and brought it back last fall with Assassin’s Creed Origins.
The extra time and marketing efforts afforded the company 1.51 million units sold the first week of launch, compare that to the .91 million units sold for Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, the previous game in the franchise.
All in all, from the pre-launch engagement to the post-launch retainment of this massive fan base, I give Assassin’s Creed Origins a 9/10 (10/10 is reserved for Kingdom Hearts 3, assuming they stick to the most recent launch date).
Have digital marketing you love? Comment down below. As always, MSC is industry-agnostic, so if you’re looking for a full-service digital marketing agency to accelerate your growth, contact us!
MSC has been acquired by branding and marketing agency, Phenomenon.
When I started this journey a little over 5 years ago, the plan was to build a smarter, data-driven growth marketing agency that used a startup mentality to scale high growth businesses. Over that period of time, our model was proven by not only MSC’s growth, but also the growth of our clients. Since launching MSC, we’ve helped our clients raise over 100MM in venture capital, have been the growth team for 5 acquisitions, and have helped scale dozens of well-established companies by utilizing digital strategies to help them stay ahead of the market.
Now we’re partnering with Phenomenon to accomplish a bigger vision–one we believe can be best achieved by joining forces. Combining the brand strategy capabilities of Phenomenon with the data-driven growth strategies of MSC, we’re excited to now provide current (and new) clients access to all the cutting edge services needed to scale their business holistically.
Nothing changes for us at MSC, except our name and expanded capabilities. We’ll still be in Detroit and committed to being a part of the city and community. We’ll continue to offer the same high-end growth strategies for current and future clients, and will stay committed to working on the most exciting projects and companies we encounter.
I’d personally like to thank all of the employees that have worked at MSC over the past 5+ years; all of the companies that supported and trusted us with their brands; advisors, mentors, friends, family, our wonderful Detroit community for the support.