In this guest post, Luke McClelland from opr Agency showcases how speaking to the few to reach the many can often prove more effective than adopting a broad audience strategy in communications campaigns.
When it comes to launching a new entertainment product, marketers often face the same two challenges – a broad potential audience and more competition for eyeballs than ever before. Throw in a small budget, and you’re facing a real challenge.
Earlier this year, Pulse (the consumer brand marketing arm of Australia’s largest PR agency, opr), in collaboration with GroupM, revealed a new approach to audience segmentation that identified the value in designing creative for the few to reach the many – using sub-cultures to achieve true cultural impact.
We call this the engaging the ‘minorstream’.
Client: Xbox ANZ
Agency opr Agency
Project: Creating the world’s first Greaseproof Controller to launch the world’s biggest videogame, PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS (PUBG).
Execution date: September 2018
Markets: Led by Australia, amplified in US, EMEA, LATAM and ASIA.
Executive summary: How do you launch a product to an audience already using it? This was our challenge with the release of PUBG on Xbox One.
We knew our biggest asset were our super fans – and if we armed them with the right story they would tell it for us.
We decided to excite our audience by creating The Greaseproof Controller – a limited edition Xbox controller coated in a trademarked paint that literally repelled grease, leaning into the fan-favourite, iconic message that appears when you win a match in game.
We commissioned 250 of these unique creations, adopting our proprietary approach to audience segmentation, the Minorstream to deliver results that exceeded expectations.
The idea was born out of opr Agency Australia, but amplified by Xbox on a global scale, with markets across the US, EMEA, LATAM and ASIA all taking part in the campaign.
In ANZ alone, the Greaseproof Controller campaign helped drive a 33 per cent increase in sales of PUBG the week of our campaign, and a 26 per cent increase in Xbox Controllers the week after.
How do you launch a product to an audience already using it? This was our challenge with the release of PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS (PUBG) on Xbox One.
While the game was a hotly anticipated title in Microsoft’s 2019 line up (and a key driver of FY19 revenue), a ‘test’ version of the game had been available to the public for almost a year and was readily accessible on other gaming platforms, such as PC and mobile devices.
Our task was two-fold; we needed to build buzz about a videogame media and consumers were already playing – while ensuring Xbox was part of the story.
We knew the biggest asset were our super fans – and if we armed them with the right story they would tell it for us.
We also had two strong creative elements to work with:
- The shape and design of the Xbox controller is iconic and unique to the brand.
- The on-screen congratulatory message that appears when you win a match in the videogame – ‘Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner’ – had become a cult phenomenon in the gaming community.
We decided to excite our audience by creating The Greaseproof Controller – a limited edition Xbox controller coated in a trademarked paint that literally repelled grease. Custom-built for our audience and coordinated to the game’s colour scheme, it allowed our super fans to keep playing – even once they won that elusive chicken dinner.
We commissioned 250 of these tongue-in-cheek, unique creations, with extra trimmings to the design which we knew our fans would enjoy – including a numerical identifier to highlight its limited release.
In developing our channel and distribution plan, we used our proprietary approach to audience segmentation centered around activating a subculture of people to reach the masses. We call it the Minorstream.
Our research (validated by the world’s largest media investment group) shows that by targeting the Minorstream (in Xbox’s case the core group of PUBG fans), our campaign could reach 38 per cent more than those targeting broad audiences. It also suggested we could deliver up to 75 per cent higher engagement and 46 per cent more campaign efficiency and effectiveness when operating on our budget (less than $100,000).
Our approach, therefore, focused on arming these audiences with the assets to disseminate our story – targeting the Minorstream to reach the mainstream.
The strength of the campaign was in our creative idea, but our audience can spot disingenuous marketing a mile away. We needed them to help drive the amplification of the campaign, so hitting the right tone was key to getting them involved and spreading the word.
We worked with ColorWare, a reputable and influential name in hardware personalisation within the industry, to create the controllers – revealing them to fans through a suite of premium assets placed in owned and earned channels.
Almost 40 per cent of our budget went into content creation, ensuring the assets were highly sharable and authentic. Each asset featured the unique Xbox controller alongside either a sea of chicken or grease (leaning into the iconic ‘Winner Winner Chicken Dinner’ message), and were shot in the tone, look and feel of PUBG.
We seeded controllers to a selection to media, influencers and super fans around the world, while making a limited number available to everyday consumers through locally owned and operated channels.
We turned a product relaunch into the main meal by tapping into our community of super fans – a.k.a. the Minorstream. Using their interests as our insights, we created a cultural moment that delivered.
While the below outlines the output success of the campaign, we also drove strong outcomes – driving a 33 per cent increase in sales of PUBG the week of our campaign, and a 26 per cent increase in Xbox Controllers the week after.
- 160+ articles with 100 per cent key message inclusion (incl. a dedicated, positive segment on Channel 10’s The Project – unheard of for a videogame brand)
- 500m+ reach through earned media globally, contributing toward a 52 per cent increase in online conversations re: PUBG in ANZ the week after the campaign
- 4+ million engagements on public social channels, including 3,000+ user posts in response to the campaign, generating 31+ million impressions
- 200,000+ views of campaign video hosted on official channels, with 35 videos created by fans, amassing a further 1.2+ million views
- 149,000 organic reach on Facebook, with an 18 per cent engagement rate on posts (well above the global benchmark of 0.58 per cent)
- Xbox Australia rose to become the second most engaged brand on Twitter in 2018 – supported by the Greaseproof campaign