2015 Digital PR Awards: Digital Marketing Campaign 100k and under

Winner: Edelman/Activision - Call of Duty: Hack in Black

To reveal the latest Call of Duty game, Black Ops 3, Activision wanted to specifically target the millions of gamers still playing Black Ops 2 each day in a way that was native to the game experience and would immediately grab their attention.

The PR team knew there was only one way to truly shock and grab the gamers’ attention: hit them right where they were, by hacking into the game itself. Working with Call of Duty: Black Ops developer Treyarch, the first ever in-game integration with Snapchat was executed by creating the appearance of a “hack” into the Black Ops 2 online multiplayer maps. Snapchat was then leveraged to release content to get fans speculating about Black Ops 3 ahead of its announcement.

Within hours of the Snapchat Snapcodes being deployed in the game to Xbox and PlayStation game consoles around the globe, players began discovering them, and thousands upon thousands of fans began snapping the Snapcode and flocking to Call of Duty’s Snapchat account to see what would happen next. Within hours, the entire Call of Duty community was buzzing about the discovery and what it could mean.

Through a series of cryptic images and videos released over multiple days, the PR team teased themes central to the game’s story, including mind control and human modification, driving speculation to a fever pitch.

Practically overnight, Call of Duty’s Snapchat account became one of the most active accounts on Snapchat, acquiring hundreds of thousands of new fans and driving millions of engagements on the tease content that was being released.

The series of teases culminated in the official reveal of Black Ops 3, driving mass discussion, including multiple global Twitter trends.

The results of the tease campaign were explosive. Hundreds of thousands of fans followed the Call of Duty Snapchat account, generating 6 million engagements with the tease content. An additional 50 million views took place on Youtube, driven by Call of Duty fans voraciously picking apart every frame of teaser content. In just 5 days the campaign generated over 1.3 billion earned impressions and 700,000 social mentions, making it the biggest Call of Duty game announcement ever.

Honorable Mentions:

•             The ALS Association - ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

•             American Society of Landscape Architects - World Landscape Architecture Month

•             C-4 Analytics, LLC - Finding Future FIAT Fanatics

•             CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield - Millennial Campaign

•             The Clorox Company - Gather

•             EMC Corporation - Integrated Marketing Program: Edge to Core Video Surveillance Big Impact Campaign

•             Lockheed Martin - JLTV Selfless Selfie

•             Revolution Messaging - Don't Settle For a Bad Job / Get the Training You Need

•             XO Group Inc. - Bump it Forward