Even for the biggest brands, launching a new video game can be a significant challenge. In a market where any game competes against thousands of other titles, many with long life cycles, it’s tough to get consumers’ attention – and money. And this is not a new phenomenon. As the popularity of video games has risen over the past 40 years, so have the number of titles available at any given time. Recently, one particular marketing and advertising campaign for Lego Marvel Avengers stood out among the rest as an excellent example of integrated marketing communications at work. The game’s success earns it one more accolade, our IMC Campaign of the Month.
Lego Marvel Avengers was released on January 26, 2016 by TT Games. TT Games was careful to coincide its television advertising with cartoons that targeted the key demographic – primarily younger consumers who have both an interest in Lego toys and superheroes. Cartoons presented a perfect vehicle to hitch to Lego Marvel Avengers ads. With compelling previews of game play and live action shots from the latest Avengers movie, the television spots had kids eagerly awaiting the release of the game in January.
In addition to children’s programming, TT Games opted to run ads during general family programming and on sports programming. In this way they reached not only to kids, but parents who quickly recognized how exciting the game would be to their children.
Alongside the television ad, TT Games also launched supportive digital ads and social media campaigns. On Facebook paid ads prompted users to “like” the video game’s page as they browsed similar content, a more organic way to advertise than putting a sponsored post where it might not be entirely appropriate. As with all Facebook ads, targeting is key. On YouTube, the ad was run as part of their retargeting network, appearing on YouTube videos for those who had searched for the game on other websites.
While the primary consumer for this title may have been kids, TT Games was careful to include adults over 30 – the majority of the gaming population – in its targeting across all campaigns. Because the game is rated “E” for everyone 10+ years old, it could reach its young audience with no problem. Arguably, advertising a game to this age group effectively is more easy than advertising a game successfully to adults, given that market is beyond saturated with considerably more grown up titles. But appealing to the lighthearted side of hardcore gamers, who might enjoy a break from stealing cars and blowing things up, meant a broader possibility of sales.
The game released to international success, ranking as a top seller in its first week. While data is still being collected about this title, and its marketing and advertising campaigns, all signs point to it being a hit.
Here’s what we do know about TT Games’ campaign for Lego Marvel Avengers, from an IMC perspective:
TT Games knew their audience well before they began advertising. They knew where and when to find them with a clever television spot and identified not just one ideal buyer, but two. Not all their eggs went into one basket, but in this case, both baskets had some crossover (many gaming adults have children).
TT Games recognized the power of digital advertising as a complement to traditional television advertising. It’s short-sighted for anyone to advertise on television but not also use that ad where people watch videos online, given online video is such a huge part of everyday life for most consumers. Advertising on YouTube supported and reinforced the television ads.
Including social media in the mix should be a given these days. Launching a campaign and failing to support it with posts on social media, or advertising on social media networks that can target who sees your ad down to incredible detail, is beyond myopic – it’s a mistake that feels almost criminal. But it’s not a mistake TT Games made.
There is a lot of marketing static in the video game industry, sp when launching a new game you have to cut straight through with a clear signal. That means careful and memorable messaging – gameplay footage, footage from the wildly popular Avengers movie -delivered in the right place – TV, YouTube – at the right time. This is true of a product in any industry where competition is stiff. Without the firm basis of audience research, there can be no true IMC in your campaign.
We look forward to seeing more data about this campaign as it becomes available, and celebrating the success of IMC done right in the tough video game industry!