'Ghostbusters' slots game hits jackpot with MGM partnership

International Game Technology, which provides games and technologies to the casino industry, launched its Ghostbusters Video Slots at last October's Global Gaming Expo with the help of AOR Allison+Partners.

Client
International Game Technology (Las Vegas)
PR agency
Allison+Partners (Phoenix)
Campaign
Ghostbusters Slots launch
Duration

August-November 2011
Budget

About $24,000

International Game Technology, which provides games and technologies to the casino industry, launched its Ghostbusters Video Slots at last October's Global Gaming Expo with the help of AOR Allison+Partners.

"Lately we've focused on bringing leading-edge pop culture titles to the casino floor," says the company's executive global communications director Sean Kapoor. "Prominent iconic brands as entertainment options are a significant business element for us, so we put a lot of emphasis on launches."

Strategy
An exclusive first-to-market partnership was established with MGM Resorts, allowing consumers to play the game at MGM properties just ahead of the general release.

Consumers and industry pros were directly engaged at events surrounding the expo, held October 4-6 in Las Vegas. Actor Dan Aykroyd, who wrote and starred in the Ghostbusters films, helped generate excitement, as did media and blogger relations and social media outreach.

Tactics
A press release announced the partnership with MGM on September 21. Cathy Planchard, partner and GM of Allison's Phoenix office, notes alignment with the Ghostbusters franchise broadened appeal across media and blog categories.

Targets throughout the effort included entertainment and gaming industry trades, general consumer media, pop culture blogs, Ghostbusters fan sites, and local print and broadcast outlets.

To create excitement ahead of the expo, a 30-foot Stay Puft Marshmallow Man (a character from the films) statue was in-stalled atop the MGM-owned Excalibur hotel on the Las Vegas strip on September 30.

When the event began, the statue was moved in front of the Sands Expo and Convention Center, the show's venue. The movie's original Ecto-1 car was displayed inside.

International Game Technology sponsored the show's ribbon-cutting ceremony. Aykroyd did the honors. He also played the game, signed autographs, and posed for pictures.

A street team directed people to the company's booth. "Ectoplasmic" green hand sanitizer was passed out, which Kapoor says was a nod to the films and a desirable giveaway for convention attendees, who shake many hands and play a lot of games.

Messages about game features were tweeted to consumers and casino operators. Event photos and videos were posted to the company's Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter properties.

Planchard adds that the social media platforms of people on Ghostbusters fan sites were leveraged as much as possible.

Results
According to Kapoor, the success of the MGM partnership and the campaign drove a 342% increase in sales of the Ghostbusters Slots (October to December). The game is also one of the fastest sellers in the company's MegaJackpot line.

Game placements in the first eight months of release were more than 1.5 times the average for new machine placements and ranked in the top five performers for the company.

Allison says Thompson Reuters metrics show the company achieved four times the share of voice at the expo compared to its top five competitors.

Traditional media and blog placements hit 350 (270 million impressions). Coverage highlights include Global Gaming Magazine, Moviefone, and ABC 13 Action News Las Vegas.

Future
International Game Techno-logy is preparing for this year's expo and working on launch plans for new social games.

PRWeek's View
This campaign covered all the bases well. The partnership with MGM was smart and important, but the team also did a terrific job maximizing the Ghostbusters franchise tie-in on multiple fronts. Participation from Dan Aykroyd was clearly a boon for the initiative. Bringing Ghostbusters elements to life with the statue, car, street team, and hand sanitizer was a fun and appropriate way to heighten awareness and engagement at the Global Gaming Expo and through media and blog coverage.

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