CALL OF DUTY: BLACK OPS by Activision, Frank Pr, NJ Live for Activision

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CALL OF DUTY: BLACK OPS

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Industry Video Games/Consoles
Media Promo & PR, Case study
Agency Activision
Agency Frank Pr
Agency NJ Live
Released September 2012

Credits & Description

Category: Technology and Manufacturing
Advertiser: ACTIVISION
Product/Service: VIDEO GAME LAUNCH
Managing Director: Andrew Bloch (Frank PR)
Head of PRexperiential: Damon Statt (Frank PR)
Account Director: Mark Dennis (Frank PR)
Senior Account Director: Polly Atherton (Frank PR)
Account Director: Rami Mallis (Frank PR)
Events Assistant: Joanna Duncombe (Frank PR)
Senior Account Manager: Sophie Raine (Frank PR)
Junior Account Executive: Emily Austin (Frank PR)
European PR Manager: Nick Grange (Activision)
European Marketing Manager: Mark Cox (Activision)
Account Manager: Lucy Donald (Activision)
European Digital Manager: Shane Bellamy (Activision)
Account Executive: Charlie Fortescue (Activision)
Event Director: Neesh Doobay (NJ Live)
Event Director: Monica Paralolista (NJ Live)
Media placement: Call Of Duty: Black Ops Launch Event - National Newspapers, Broadcast And Online - 08 November 2010
Media placement: Call Of Duty: Black Ops Game Press Release - Newspapers, Broadcast And Online - 09 November 2010
Media placement: Call Of Duty: Black Ops Event Celebrity Picture Story - Newspapers, Broadcast And Online - 09 November 2010
Media placement: Call Of Duty: Black Ops Event B-Roll - Broadcast And Online - 09 November 2010

Summary of the Campaign
We led the UK and European launch of Activision’s biggest franchise 'Call of Duty: Black Ops', with the key objective of ensuring the video game became the most successful entertainment launch of all time.

The challenge was twofold:

1. To ensure the game led the mainstream news agenda at launch through widespread media coverage.

2. To surpass the achievements set by its predecessor 'Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2' which held revenue and sales records for the entertainment industry.

To overcome these challenges and meet the main objective, we organised a launch event of a scale the gaming industry had never experienced before. A star studded 'black carpet' launch was held at Battersea Power Station, which had been converted into a Cold War bunker, and featured a live, pan-European celebrity / multiplayer competition and an exclusive performance by UK chart sensation Tinie Tempah.

This resulted in blanket broadcast, national and online coverage and a multitude of celebrity endorsements via Twitter and Facebook. The game smashed all revenue records, selling over 1.4m copies in the 24hrs on sale and bringing $1 billion in its first six weeks.

'Call of Duty: Black Ops' became officially the most successful entertainment launch of all time.

The Situation
Activision wanted the 'Call of Duty: Black Ops' launch to set a precedent for the gaming industry and position it as the entertainment product of 2010, make it the hottest topic in town for both mainstream and hardcore gaming audiences, and ensure it’s the 'must have' title for any console owner.

PR was vital in ensuring both media and consumers were fully aware of the game’s launch and that anticipation was at its peak by the time it was available to buy. In order to do this, needed to capture mainstream media attention to generate mass market exposure required.

The Goal
The key objective of the launch was to make 'Call of Duty: Black Ops' the biggest entertainment launch of 2010.

To achieve this objective, we needed a launch moment that ensured both mainstream and hardcore audiences were targeted as widespread awareness was vital to ensure success.

'Call of Duty' has an undisputed following with hardcore gamers; however, to become the most successful entertainment franchise launch of 2010 the game had to have mass appeal and be purchased by people who were either casual gamers, gifters or totally new to the franchise.

The Strategy
To achieve Activision’s expectations in creating the entertainment launch of the year, our strategy was to organise a launch event of a scale the gaming industry had never experienced before.

Four supporting objectives were critical in making the event stand apart from all previous gaming launches. These were:

1. An event that was bigger and bolder than all previous 'Call of Duty' launch activities.
2. An event that was pan-European integration with local territories.
3. An event that was truly digital, leveraging social media to the max.
4. An event that was unrivalled celebrity support.

The launch occurred on 8th November 2010, the evening before the global release of the game. London was chosen as the flagship location for all European activity and was the template for other territories to base their events upon.

Execution
To ensure the overarching objective was achieved, we met the four supporting objectives by carrying out the following:

1. Bigger and bolder
A 'Black' carpet launch party for media, celebs and fans at one of London’s most iconic buildings, Battersea Power Station. The chimneys became the face of a massive moving 3D animation, turning into a virtual warzone. Outside was themed with military props and soldiers; inside became a Cold War bunker.

2. Pan-European integration
A pan-European consumer and celebrity multiplayer event took place hosted by the celebrity compeer, with England defender Wayne Bridge representing the UK.

3. Digital experience
The UK launch was streamed live on Facebook and uStream, containing interviews, multiplayer competition and music performances, then syndicated to other digital partners to get European consumers close to the action.

4. Unrivalled celebrity
UK chart sensation Tinie Tempah performed, 100+ celebrities from music, fashion and TV attended.

Documented Results
The event smashed every objective:

1. It was bigger and bolder...
- 1000+ fans, celebrities and media attended.
- Media coverage delivered a PR value in excess of £10m.
- 51 minutes on national TV, 50 minutes on radio & 145 national news articles.

2. Europe was integral...
- The first pan-European celebrity Call of Duty multiplayer competition.

3. Digital integration achieved...
- 180,000+ people viewed the event live via Facebook.
- 29,000 hours of footage viewed, equivalent to three years of footage in one night.

4. Celebrities flocked and 'Tweeted freely'...
- Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Professor Green, Example, Roll Deep, N-Dubz, Ashley Cole, Alex Reid, Goldie...

As result...
'Call of Duty: Black Ops' is officially the bestselling video game of all time -1.4m copies sold in 24 hours = £58m (Source – Chart-Track).

'Call of Duty: Black Ops' is officially the largest ever entertainment launch - $1bn in six weeks.