Games Coming Down from Space

On February 2012, the mass3company BioWare, a video game developer, launched copies of their newest game, Mass Effect 3 into space. The idea was simple, using high-altitude weather balloons and
GPS tracking devices they launched packages with copies of the game and other goodies, like t-shirts, hoodies and art books into space.

 
Using the GPS information on their websites fans could track down were those packages would fall. Therefore, the first ones at the location would get a brand-new copy of Mass Effect 3, that was not released yet, and the other goodies. The “deployments” happened in New York, San Francisco, Las Vegas, London, Paris, and Berlin.

Mission Control

mass2

BioWare’s PR team used press releases, YouTube videos, and social media to spread the message about their campaign and keep people update about each deployment. Since weather balloons are a little unpredictable they kept close attention to their GPS device so they could keep fans update in any major event that could interrupt the landing or stay on the way of retrieving the packages.

They did have challenges during their “space mission”. Because of the weather in San Francisco the balloons got out of their way and got stuck on some trees, BioWare was quick to announce on social media that the “mission failed” and that fans should not go to the place to retrieved. During some of their “missions” they website to track the packages stop working, so the PR team kept updating the coordinates on social media so fans could track it. Some of the balloons fell into private properties so they had to spread the message on social media telling fans not to go there and disturbs the owners trying to get to the packages.

We are Coming Home

This PR campaign was very creative and did grab the attention to a lot of people. They used the game’s theme to come up with a creative idea that would excite their loyal legion of fans around the world. They were prepared and responded really well to the unpredictable situations that happened during their “deployments”.

Besides of some failed missions, the fans were still going out trying to get a “game from space”. For that month, social media was being blasted with people’s comments about the packages and what was going on with each “mission”. As a result, they grabbed the attention of many people about their upcoming game and generated a lot of buzz through the media channels.

The only problem was that “failed missions”. Because there were quite of few of them during the campaign there was a lot of negative buzz going around, there were a lot of people saying that the idea wasn’t well planned and that it was just a waste of time and money. The good side of this was that the negative comments were only about the PR stunt and not about the game, so I see it as a winning for the BioWare’s PR team.

Sources

wired.com

eurogamer.com

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