Microsoft Promo, Case study CREATING A VISUAL ICON by UM

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Industry Video Games/Consoles
Media Promo & PR, Case study
Market United Kingdom
Agency UM
Producer Luke Farrell
Released September 2010

Credits & Description

Category: Best Use of Ambient Media: Large Scale
Advertiser: MICROSOFT
Date of First Appearance: Sep 13 2010
Entrant Company: UM, London, UNITED KINGDOM
Ideation Director: Rory Behrman (UM London)
Chief Executive Officer: Anthony Ganjou (Curb)
Planning Manager: Lin Sze Teh (UM London)
Producer: Luke Farrell (Duke & Earl)
Media placement: Outdoor Hand-Painted Mural - Westfield London - 13 Sept 2010

Insights, Strategy & the Idea
Once upon a time there was a video game franchise called Halo. A benchmark for excellence, innovation and entertainment, it was preparing to launch its latest game: Reach. And it needed to replace Modern Warfare 2 at the top of the gaming charts.

So, we asked ourselves a series of questions. What could capture the imagination of the gaming world? What could reflect the scale, stature and iconography of Reach? How could we tap into our audience in the most creative and original way, giving gaming fans an unforgettable experience?

A key insight fuelled our solution: iconic brands are defined by their iconic behaviour.

We therefore decided to create a visual brand icon for Reach – to stun people first hand, and to be circulated as a worldwide signature.

Creative Execution
We commissioned six world-renowned street artists to hand-paint three giant murals across 1,000 square metres of wall space, delivering a magnificent piece of artwork.

The beautiful craftsmanship and sheer intensity of the work perfectly captured the rich detail and emotion of Halo Reach, and brought the game to life like never before.

We identified Westfield London – Europe’s most premium retail and entertainment destination – as the perfect urban canvas. It would give us an iconic backdrop for a blockbuster launch, and would allow us to tie in seamlessly with PR and retail.

It was the first time murals had ever been hand-painted on such a scale in Europe, and a global first for shopping centres!

To capture the birth of this icon, and to allow fans could spread the story far and wide, we created and seeded a captivating film. It was a PR masterpiece.

Results and Effectiveness
1 million people saw the artwork, and immediately posted their reactions on Twitter and Facebook (“Reach artwork on side of Westfield. AWWESOOOMEE!”).

600,000 viewed and shared the video online, and traffic to increased 23%.

Halo Reach soared to the top of the charts, with sales of £20m in week one alone, and sales at Westfield’s Game 30% above projected figures.

Paul Evans, Xbox EMEA Head of Media, said:
“This ambitious project demonstrated how even the “last true broadcast medium” can be curated in order to deliver a spellbinding cocktail of storytelling and social impressions beyond the media placement itself. Outstanding!”