Electronic Arts DM RICKROLL IN A BOX by Wieden + Kennedy Portland

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Industry Video Games/Consoles
Media Direct marketing
Market United States
Agency Wieden + Kennedy Portland
Art Director Dominic Orlando
Copywriter Charlie Gschwend
Creative Adam Heathcott
Designer Karen Koch, Katie Mchugh
Account Supervisor Becca Milby
Strategic Planner Matt Kelley
Released October 2009

Credits & Description

Category: Dimensional Mailing
Date of First Appearance: Oct 26 2009 12:00AM
Entrant Company: WIEDEN+KENNEDY, Portland, USA
Executive Creative Directors: Mark Fitzloff/Susan Hoffman (Wieden+Kennedy)
Creative Directors: Eric Baldwin/Jason Bagley (Wieden+Kennedy)
Art Director: Dominic Orlando (Wieden+Kennedy)
Copywriter: Charlie Gschwend (Wieden+Kennedy)
Creative: Adam Heathcott (Wieden+Kennedy)
Studio Manager: Maya Roberts (Wieden+Kennedy)
Designer: Karen Koch (Wieden+Kennedy)
Designer: Katie McHugh (Wieden+Kennedy)
Sound Engineer: David Neevel (Wieden+Kennedy)
Account Director: Paulo Ribeiro (Wieden+Kennedy)
Account Supervisor: Becca Milby (Wieden+Kennedy)
Account Executive: Philip Kirsch (Wieden+Kennedy)
Strategic Planner: Matt Kelley (Wieden+Kennedy)
Interactive Planner: Jason Tarantino (Wieden+Kennedy)
Business Affairs: Stephen Duncan (Wieden+Kennedy)
Media placement: Direct Mailing - Distributed To Key Gaming Bloggers - 26 October 2009

Describe the brief/objective of the direct campaign.
Dante’s Inferno is a video game based on the epic poem. Players, assuming the role of Dante, must descend through the nine Circles of Hell, each circle representing a different sin, to rescue Dante’s beloved Beatrice. With a highly wired, cynical customer base, we wanted to engage core gamers early, getting on their radars long before the game’s launch, as they are responsible for the bulk of sales and word of mouth. One by one, we took each sin and used it to showcase the corresponding level of the game while creating buzz and excitement for the game’s february launch.

Explain why the creative execution was relevant to the product or service.
Rather than metaphorically represent anger, the Rickroll-in-a-box execution was designed to elicit physical acts of wrath by creating something positively infuriating. By creating something that encouraged succumbing to the sin of anger, gamers got a feel for the hellish terrain they would battle through and the evil denizens they would experience when the game launched. Additionally, by using the sin to bring Hell, and the game to life, we were able to stand out in the action/adventure genre, where the hero’s story is typically the focus. Our strategy was as unique as the execution.

Describe the creative solution to the brief/objective with reference to the projected response rates and desired outcome.
Consistent with the mature tone of the game and mythology of the poem, we created nine different executions, each using sin as an invitation to experience the corresponding level of Hell. For the sin of Anger, we sent the gaming press a creepy Rickroll-in-a-box designed to elicit acts of wrath. Upon opening, an endless loop of Rick Astley’s 'Never Gonna Give You Up' played at impressive volume and didn’t stop until the box was destroyed. Because of the provocative and hilarious nature of the execution, we anticipated that recipients would share their experience online, extending the execution and conversation to a larger audience.

Describe the results in as much detail as possible with particular reference to the RESPONSE of the target audience including deliverability statistics, response rates, click throughs, sales cost per response, relationships built and overall return on investment.
The 17-pound delivery came as no surprise to our gaming contacts. Following the executions for the first four levels of Hell, they knew to expect something cool and unusual. The Anger Rickroll didn’t disappoint. Four recipients created their own original response videos detailing their battle with the box, including a 16-minute step-by-step dissection in an effort to avoid succumbing to anger. Between the videos and coverage on other major gaming sites, we generated an estimated 5,697,000 impressions eliciting 1,036 comments from our core gamers, as well as an addition to the Rickroll Wikipedia page.