Video Game Viral Video – Tom Clancy’s EndWar

Endwar Viral from Eyestorm Productions on Vimeo.

The VIDEO GAME Viral Video: Engage non-gamers to join the fun!

The magic of the viral video is that it seems weird and out of nowhere. Viewers are always commenting, “What am I watching?” at each new viral craze that pops up. Of course, that is part of the appeal and fantasy of viral videos. They’re out of left field and can be about anything. The reality, however, is very different. Viral videos, especially video game viral videos, do have their own formula of sorts. At the very least, there are predictable ingredients that when combined can almost guarantee viral success.

Eyestorm Productions had quite the mission when Ubisoft decided their real-time strategy war-game should reach broader audiences than the genre tends to attract. EndWar would be the first-ever voice-activated RTS game, completely and fully playable from start to finish via voice-commands. This capability alone invites not just a broader video-game audience, but even non-gamers to join in the fun. Now to get the message beyond the confines of gamer kingdom? Ding! Ding! Ding! You guessed it… a video game viral video.

Eyestorm examined hundreds of virals cracking the code as to why they work and what makes them shareable, spreadable, and evangelized across the web out of the goodness of the viewer’s heart (or instantaneous yearn to spread the LOL’s). Combining detailed analytics and the strategy to both promote a new feature of the game and attract a wider audience, Eyestorm honed in on one of the most successful chapters in ‘the book of virals’ and incorporated animals, namely the parrot. The cute, lovable, and vocal darling of the animal kingdom would make EndWar appear effortless to play to the average Joe (and even Joe’s Mom while we’re at it). The adorable parrots would not only brighten the game’s doom-and-gloom theme of “the end of the world,” but also show just how easy voice-commands make gameplay.

Key to this concept though was that it had to seem like a user-created video. Surprisingly, making a video seem amateur but still watchable is not as easy as it sounds. Everything from how the user would film the parrots, adding the shaking camera sounds, lag edits, improved VO, and even faking the voice of the parrots all had to be carefully planned out (and a little secret for those of you looking to make your own talking parrot videos: we used peanut butter to get the parrots to look like they were talking and futzed a human voice to sound like a parrot). To our surprise, no audience member even guessed it was faked. Some questioned how logistically the parrots could have played them, but the rest of the audience provided the answer for us! Natural audience engagement and free media buys all incentivized by the desire to share material that will make others happy.

As you can guess, this video game viral video made colossal waves in-game advertising. It not only took viral videos off-the-beaten-path, but connected in a fresh new way with its target demographic and to never-before engaged audiences. The EndWar viral video achieved hit counts into the 7 figures, earned free media buys (due to user requests) and snagged the “Best Viral Video” award at The Game Marketing Awards show!

EndWar’s viral parrots are a lesson in video game marketing success. The viral video is a valuable, entertaining marketing medium that when applied properly can crack the homemade code and bring niche industries, like video games, to a broader, more diverse consumer.

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