DEMONS IN THE SOURCE CODE by Wieden + Kennedy Portland for Electronic Arts

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DEMONS IN THE SOURCE CODE

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Industry Video Games/Consoles
Media Promo & PR, Case study
Market United States
Agency Wieden + Kennedy Portland
Art Director Dominic Orlando
Copywriter Charlie Gschwend
Account Supervisor Becca Milby
Strategic Planner Matt Kelley
Released February 2010

Credits & Description

Category: Best Use of Online Advertising
Advertiser: ELECTRONIC ARTS
Product/Service: DANTE'S INFERNO VIDEO GAME
Agency: WIEDEN+KENNEDY
Date of First Appearance: Feb 3 2010 12:00AM
Entrant Company: WIEDEN+KENNEDY, Portland, USA
Entry URL: http://www.hellisnigh.com
Associate Media Director: Alex Barwick (Wieden+Kennedy)
Media Supervisor: Danielle Pak (Wieden+Kennedy)
Media Planner: Chaucer Barnes (Wieden+Kennedy)
Group Media Director: Kelly Muller (Wieden+Kennedy)
Creative Directors: Eric Baldwin/Jason Bagley (Wieden+Kennedy)
Art Director: Dominic Orlando (Wieden+Kennedy)
Copywriter: Charlie Gschwend (Wieden+Kennedy)
Creatuve: Adam Heathcott (Wieden+Kennedy)
Studio Manager: Maya Roberts (Wieden+Kennedy)
Designers: Mike Weihs/Peter Yue (Wieden+Kennedy)
Digital Designers: Jason Strand/Mirtho Prepont (Wieden+Kennedy)
Digital Producer: Carl Whitehouse (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)
Executive Creative Directors: Mark Fitzloff/Susan Hoffman (Wieden+Kennedy)
Media Planner: Brian Reavey (Wieden+Kennedy)
Media placement: Online Banner Campaign with ASCII add-on - IGN.com, Gamespot.com, Digg.com, WWE.com, Dailymotion.com, Deadspin.com, Kotaku. - 3 February 2010

Results and Effectiveness
Anyone can view source code using their browser's mouse menu, yet no one had ever advertised there. Dante's Inferno was lauded as the first thanks to this execution, a newsworthy achievement that garnered the title over 13 MM unpaid media impressions. By tying the source code execution to our banner inventory, we guaranteed gamers were not only noticing, but on the lookout for our creative. Moreover, our consumers took to it in droves: we recorded over 60,000 pieces of content downloaded from our secret site.

Creative Execution
Working in close concert with our partner sites, and with an eye toward our tech-savvy consumers, we negotiated a supplemental ad placement beyond our paid advertising: in the source code. We hid images of characters from the game, rendered as ASCII art (text-base images) in the source code of sites where our banner advertising appeared. The link to the game became apparent when users found a URL and password buried in the images. While our banners functioned normally, referring those who clicked to the Dante's Inferno website, we rewarded more curious users with a deeper experience. The story broke on Digg.com within hours and a mad dash began to find images on other sites web-wide--and the only indicator consumers had to follow was Dante's Inferno banners. After collecting six passwords users could download exclusive art and music from the game.

Insights, Strategy & the Idea
With our ramp-up campaign, Dante's Inferno had set a standard with our consumers: engagement is rewarded. Those who had engaged with the campaign knew that there was always more to discover. We decided that bland (but necessary) media assets like online banners should be no exception. Furthermore, the ubiquity of online banners, coupled with our knowledge of our especially tech-savvy gamer target, made us doubt that our launch assets would be paid careful attention. We wanted people to not only pay attention, but if possible, seek out our advertising. Moreover, we wanted our mass media to generate the same kind of buzz achieved by our smaller stunts; press mentions and sharing through social networks provided valuable media impressions and stoked curiosity about the title.