Print advertisement created by Bond, United States for EA Games, within the category: Gaming.
Digital advertisement created by Wieden + Kennedy, Netherlands for EA Games, within the category: Gaming.
Digital advertisement created by FCB, United States for EA Games, within the category: Gaming.
Digital advertisement created by Heat, United States for EA Games, within the category: Movies.
Why is this work relevant for Media? To launch World War II shooter Battlefield V, EA Games needed to re-engage core fans with an industry-first activation that directly attributed social buzz to a sale. Our solution: Operation Enigma - a top-secret, multi-platform Alternate Reality Game (ARG) using a Universal EA-ID to personalize experiences across 30 different channels, creating 40,000 individual-level experiences. To communicate with players, we developed an AI-powered ‘secret agent’ using Natural Language Processing (NLP) to read player messages, creating genuinely personal experiences in 7 different languages. 35% of gamers who engaged with the mission pre-ordered Battlefield V ahead of launch, delivering an ROI of 287%. Background EA Games needed to defend against the onslaught of PubG, Fortnite and other free-to-play shooters by re-engaging core Battlefield fans to build cult level interest ahead of the launch of Battlefield V. Typically, video game launch success is determined by the impact and voice of the core fans. As micro-influencers, their voices resonating and amplifying with the broader public is what drives real demand. We needed to go one step further and demonstrate a direct attribution to Battlefield V sales from this engagement over a 5-month pre-launch period. With zero media budget. Describe the creative idea/insights (30% of vote) Launching a new video game is complex. Like movie premieres, success is often determined by the impact and voice of core fans. As micro-influencers, their voices resonating and amplifying with the public drives demand and long-term player engagement. To launch World War II shooter Battlefield V, EA Games needed to re-ignite core fans. With over 1 billion YouTube views of fan-created Battlefield Easter Egg videos from past games (more views than all previous Battlefield launch trailers combined), we knew how to engage these hardcore gamers – by giving them a tantalising secret to unravel. That secret: Operation Enigma - a top-secret, multi-platform Alternate Reality Game (ARG) involving 60 unique puzzles, hidden across 30 different channels in 7 languages. The campaign started 5 months before Battlefield V’s launch, with secrets and clues for our obsessive audiences to find, follow, figure out and share, spreading the message of Battlefield V for us. Describe the strategy (20% of vote) Attribution was mission-critical to proving success. Our strategy was especially complex given we hid puzzles, clues and challenges across 30 different technology platforms across the internet. For 5 months, players Shazamed trailers in YouTube, found secret messages inside sheet music within Spotify, found clues at historic WWII destinations through Google Maps and used real spycraft techniques like steganography to reveal messages hidden within Wikipedia. Every interaction was designed to produce measurable structured or unstructured data that enabled personalized responses based on where players were in their journey. We developed a new way to orchestrate this through a Universal EA-ID which allowed us to personalize 40,000 individuals across 30 channels. Through this we turned what would have been unknown engaged players into known, actionable, single customer records. Describe the execution (20% of vote) To power individual communications we built two AI-powered communication engines to deliver real-time responses across Email & Messenger Chat. We built these bespoke engines in 7 different languages. These AI-powered ‘secret agents’ used Natural Language Processing (NLP) to read and respond to player messages, enabling genuinely personal experiences for players around the world. We took structured data sources like total visits, time between return visits and dwell time, married with unstructured data, to feed into our custom-built NLP algorithm, enabling real-time capability and responsive personalisation. Hosted on an AWS data environment, the AI-powered agents responded with coded instructions, interacting with players in 7 different languages to deliver real-time, one-to-one interactions based on players’ individual journeys. List the results (30% of vote) Our 40,000 micro-influencers generated over 7.3m impressions, comments and shares over the 5-month period. All with zero media spend. But better yet, because we collected, linked and tracked every participant to a unique EA-ID we were able to close the loop in attribution. This revealed that 35% of gamers who engaged with the Operation Enigma pre-ordered Battlefield V ahead of launch, delivering an ROI of 287%, making this the most effective marketing activation in the franchise's history.