In early 2010, Hollywood blockbuster Avatar took the title of biggest selling entertainment release of all time from Activision’s game, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. With the launch of Call of Duty: Black Ops [COD], the games publisher felt it was time to claim the title back.
The challenge for Activision was that traffic to official CallofDuty.com forums was decreasing while fan numbers on unofficial COD social sites was increasing. Activision needed to act quickly to stay part of the conversation.
In the four months before launch, we developed a social strategy with 3 core objectives:
- Drive brand awareness
- Generate pre-order sales
- Reignite fans’ passion for COD across the EU
Brand Awareness Activity
Activity launched in August 2010 with a cross promotion campaign within the existing Modern Warfare 2 community to grow the COD fan base from it’s original level of 446,948.
We outreached to all influential COD sites, forums, and bloggers across Europe with compelling, interactive content, getting them ready for the launch of a lifetime. Our sister agency Five by Five designed and developed a bespoke Facebook landing tab to encourage users to like the page and get involved in the conversation. This page was supported by video and photo assets specially created for fans. Five by Five also created and produced the global pre-launch and European launch banner ad campaign for Call of Duty: Black Ops, which ran across 15 territories.
COD TV at Gamescom
We set up ‘COD TV’ at Gamescom, Europe’s biggest interactive games trade fair. COD TV was a live community interview with games developer Treyarch’s community manager Josh Olin and Black Ops’ military advisor Hank Kiersey. This activity was a first for Activision and the Call of Duty franchise.
Using our social media monitoring dashboard that we manage and maintain for the global Call of Duty brand, we produced a landscape of influencers across the EU with whom we seeded content to encourage fan participation and publicise the live interview. We also engaged the community with geo-targeted posts, encouraging fans to submit questions via a bespoke Facebook application that allowed them to vote for their favourite questions.
The live interview was broadcast on Facebook via a bespoke COD TV tab in partnership with uStream. This tab comprised of a dedicated Facebook chat forum alongside the video player that we moderated.
We developed a social commerce initiative featuring pre-order messages used as conversation starters on the Facebook wall and a bespoke tab, which took users to retail partner sites.
We carried out ad hoc geo-targeted posts in-line with our editorial calendar, to engage with the community. We uploaded videos and re-designed and developed the Facebook tabs to build a strong Facebook community
COD: Black Ops Launch
Working in partnership with Xbox who developed a bespoke launch event Facebook tab, and using our existing COD TV uStream tab, we executed a 5 hour long broadcast of the UK launch event at Battersea Power Station in London on November 9.
The live broadcast featured performances by celebrity Call of Duty players and a gig from up-and-coming artist Tinie Tempah. Throughout the broadcast we moderated the real-time conversation stream in social channels and fed questions to the roaming presenters at the event. We managed the official Call of Duty: Black Ops Facebook page throughout the event, moderating the live social stream alongside the live video and carried out community management activity.
The end result; a huge increase in fans engaging with Activision content (almost 8.8 million fans to date) and, of course, the title of ‘biggest selling entertainment release of all time’.