'Living goddess' draws in Chinese online gamers

Case study: Chinese game developer NetEase and Genedigi MSLGroup employed a Taiwan celebrity to reach jaded players.

This work won Best Arts, Entertainment & Media Campaign at the recent PRWeek Awards Asia.

Objective

The online gaming industry in China is among the most competitive in the world. In 2012, 830 domestic online games registered with the Ministry of Culture, and 440 new games were launched. The Chinese online game providers struggled to keep up with the demand of gamers and maintain consistent profitability. The original DTWS (Di Tang Wu Shuang) had been losing fans for years and had actually seen its brand awareness decrease faster than its top five competitors in 2012. NetEase tasked the agency with the campaign and launch event for DTWS 2. The goal was to drive online engagement among fans to increase brand awareness, attract player registrations, and ultimately drive gamers to play DTWS 2.

Strategy

The agency decided that word-of-mouth marketing would be an essential component of a successful campaign. However, it needed to create both an online and offline experience with the audience for maximum impact and this would be the most challenging aspect of the brief. NetEase subsequently signed Lin Chi-ling, a popular Taiwanese model and actress, as the brand ambassador and the agency set out to intertwine fantasy and reality to create a deep connection among gamers, Lin and the game. It incorporated Lin not only into the launch event and promotions, but also into the actual game. She would be a brand ambassador and friend, who joined gamers in battle — a living goddess who would be able to engage and interact with fans. A 360-degree campaign was created to take full advantage of Lin’s unique attributes and generate word of mouth.

Results

According to NetEase’s CEO, the successful launch of DTWS 2 helped contribute to a 21 per cent increase in online game service revenue. The game ranked second in ‘2013 Q3 Top 2.5D Online Games’, an industrial ranking on pk.com, while DTWS 2 Weibo trended, so did the theme song by Lin and William Ding. Online video views exceeded 7.17 million. Nearly 980 links were found on Youku.com. The discussion about the video generated more than 1.2 million comments. During the 40 days the campaign ran, DTWS 2 Baidu searches jumped by more than 1,000 per cent. Media attention jumped by nearly 300 per cent and over 500 million impressions were generated.

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