With a brand new franchise and an entrepreneurial budget, 2K challenged us to launch their first-person shooter Battleborn with a digital-first, multi-media creative campaign, designed to excite the audience on not just what they could do with the game, but what the game could do for them.
Armed with an insight not yet leveraged, we needed to not only educate our target on the many intriguing facets of this title from bizarre characters, devastating weapons, and random styles of play, but also show how it could fit them in a way that perhaps they hadn’t considered before. Because while every person on earth has a badass inside them, no two are the same. Battleborn wasn’t just for one particular gamer or personality, it was For Every Kind of Badass.
Our first task was to stake out our territory. It was important to own the idea of badass. It’s a big, unique word that has no synonym. As the foremost authority on everything badass, we leveraged our social channels to label what we thought deserved that holy title. Any video, pic, post, or comment anyone made we thought was badass, we curated and shared with our community. It could be some amazing gameplay, a tattoo, a quote, a news story, a tiger with a flamethrower riding a unicycle, or anything else we thought was relevant. If it was badass, we owned it.
Now we needed to do some heavy lifting and explain to our audience what this game was and what was in it for them. We needed a hard hitting, quick twitch, digestible format that would pique their interest.
That led to the invention of the Equations. From characters to plot to gameplay, we could explain anything about the game in about five words, as long as those words told an interesting enough story.
Beyond just saying what was in the game, we expressed what it could do for the audience. It’s about finding the fit in their lives, or perhaps pointing out the hole they didn’t know they needed filled. This led to the creation of an engaging social campaign, “For Those ...” that made the argument that no matter who or what you like, don't like, play, or feel, somewhere in this title there is a character or game mode that fits you.
Our message needed to work amidst the people who would spread it the furthest: gamers. With that in mind we hit up the campaign trail from E3 to GAMESCON and everywhere in between, making sure to communicate how Battleborn was made for the gamer inside all of us, no matter who the hell that gamer was. This involved posters, event social activations, and some UGC that really brought our audience face to face with the kind of badass they could be.
We wanted every touch point for the campaign to always point straight back to our north star of For Every Kind of Badass. That extended to our open beta program, where to really get some attention, we put out a sweepstakes prize unlike anything ever offered before. Anyone who signed up for the beta was entered in a drawing for the Most Amazing Badass Weekend ever. Our winners were flown to Vegas, put up in the Rain Man suite and treated to two straight days of skydiving, race car driving, steaks, booze, and tank driving. Yes, tank driving. Because that’s what a badass does. And we’d know.
Using a “Core, then More” philosophy to our media tactics, our campaign was now established, inner audience educated, so it was time to spread the word wider and let the rest of the world in an our title and message. We did that by sticking to our guns (and swords, rockets, axes, etc.) and telling a story with all the different ways you can play in Battleborn. Showing that any badass, anywhere, can truly bring it if you only have the stones to try.
We created a style guide, key art, tagline, strategic approach, social strategy, and hundreds of pieces of creative all orbiting the tightly wound insight of Battleborn being For Every Kind of Badass. Through our multi-media attack, we were able to increase word of mouth and awareness for this previously non-existent title. Despite serious competition during a busy launch window with much larger budgets, Battleborn won the week and opened in the number one spot across all three major platforms: PS4, XBOX1, and PC.