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LIFE IS STRANGE: BEFORE THE STORM

Square Enix uses emotive viral video to promote Life Is Strange: Before The Storm

Video games publisher Square Enix has eschewed traditional video games marketing strategy for a disruptive new approach, creating an emotive promo video for its latest game Life Is Strange: Before The Storm.

The three-minute video, entitled An Open Letter, was created by London-based brand experience agency Ralph, which was charged with delivering a creative that reflected the game’s themes of friendship, loyalty and devotion.

The result is an unexpected piece of games marketing far removed from the traditional approach of in-game footage and cut scenes – with the video featuring real people, with real stories of friendship and devotion.

The creative team at Ralph spent many weeks reaching out to pairs of best friends, asking for stories and insights into how their friendship had lasted through even the toughest of times. They were then invited to participate in interviews in New York where they were encouraged to open up about each other on camera.

However, there was a twist. Before coming to the interview, each friend was secretly urged to write a letter to their best friend. Once cameras started rolling, the recipients were asked to read their letters aloud for the first time.

“We took a risk with this strategy and we wouldn’t have achieved the emotion within the video had we not chosen some extraordinary people willing to open their hearts on camera,” admitted Ralph’s Creative Director Gregor Stevenson. “The raw intensity of their reactions as they read their best friends’ innermost thoughts is what we wanted to capture from the start. And that’s what we got. Our goal was to portray each friendship in an engaging and empathetic way, whilst reflecting the authenticity and uniqueness of the characters in the game.”

Square Enix’s Vice President for Brand Marketing Jon Brooke added: “I wanted to capture the emotion and spirit of Life is Strange in a way that you don’t usually see in video game advertising. As a game, it braves to be different, harnessing emotions rarely seen in video games and I wanted the advertising to match this. I am really pleased with how it turned out. It’s designed to remind us that life is all about our relationships and a strong friendship can change everything. I hope everyone can relate to that”.

Life Is Strange: Before The Storm is the next game in Square Enix’s award-winning, multi-million copy selling, episodic franchise. The eagerly-anticipated game was released on August 31 on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Windows PC.

Short videos not always the best for engagement

Video marketing platform TwentyThree has published a new study detailing how people consume video content, with surprising results.

Perviously, many followed the rule that short, concise videos offered more engagement than longer videos.

However, the findings by TwentyThree show that while 80% of the videos produced and shared on social media are under five minutes long, they actually account for less than a third of video engagement.

The study found that videos over 15 minutes in length accounted for 50% of all engagement recorded – but are only 8% of all video content produced.

Sixty-six per cent of people watch an average of 03.56 minutes of video, compared to 23% of people watching videos with an average length of 00.58, and 14% watching videos of an average length of 00:20 on Facebook.

The study also revealed that click-through rates increase by 62% when a video is laced in the thumbnail of an email campaign.

The study was based on feedback from  300 marketing teams, 1.5 million videos, 1.7 billion impressions and 650 million video plays.

Red Bull named 2016’s most sharable brand

Energy drink giant Red Bull has been declared last year’s most sharable brand, according to new figures by Unruly.

As part of Unruly’s annual round-up, the video ad tech company has compiled a list of the top ten video campaigns to be shared on social media throughout the year.

Red Bull failed to even reach the top ten most shared single ads of 2016, with that accolade being awarded to John Lewis’ Buster The Boxer Christmas Campaign.

Instead, the global drinks manufacturer was able to secure first place through a constant stream of released content as the company reportedly uploaded hundreds of videos over the course of the year.

The top three brands shared also included Samsung, followed by McDonald’s. From last year’s second place, Red Bull soared into first this year, beating Samsung’s shares by around 15 million.

“The winners hit the mark by creating highly emotional ads that resonated with viewers,” according to Unruly’s SVP Insights and Marketing, US, Devra Prywes, “we have a truly global list of top brands, many of which created videos specifically for and released in individual territories topping the list.”

Unruly held a ‘virtual award’ ceremony live on Twitter, announcing the winners for a number of categories, including Emotional Ad and Most Inspiring Video, all of which can be viewed here

 

Industry Spotlight, Apple iOS 10: What do brands need to know?

Product marketing manager for Urban Airship Engage, Diana Laboy-Rush looks at the implications for brands following Apple’s recent iOS 10 release , with its support for Rich Notifications, where images, video, audio, GIFs and interactive buttons are embedded directly within push notifications.

For businesses, iOS 10 brings massive changes to Apple’s operating system that place better and richer app engagement front-and-centre. If past adoption rates hold steady, it won’t be long before all of your iPhone app users gain richer experiences that offer deeper insight into what they care about. Here are some key points that businesses should be aware of…

 

Reap before you sow with key improvements

iOS 10 solves existing barriers that will make current engagement efforts more effective. A Raise to Wake feature means TouchID users won’t blow past lockscreen notifications when unlocking their phones. Notifications are immediately visible as users pick up their phones. Notifications also become the default view for the Notification Center, a chronologically-ordered archive that makes messages easier to find later.

 

If a picture is worth 1,000 words, then a GIF or video could be worth more

Rich Notifications can include images, GIFs, audio, video and interactive buttons embedded directly within push notifications. Grab the attention of your audience with notifications that inspire action. Recent Android data analysis found a 56 per cent higher response rate to notifications with pictures versus those without.

 

Better visibility for richer, actionable notification experiences

With iOS 10, users get visual and written cues that there’s a richer notification experience awaiting them. Lockscreen notifications arrive with rich media thumbnails and an instruction to either “Press for more” or “Slide for more” depending on whether Force Touch is available on the device.

That’s in stark contrast to previous Apple operating systems, which had businesses building these instructions into notification text to help ensure interactive buttons were discovered.

 

Mind your media, or risk ruin with too much of a good thing

Apple provides maximum file sizes for images, audio and video that would be best to undercut dramatically. Rich media will impact consumers’ data plans, ranging from barely noticeable with judicious use of images, to potential reasons to delete an app for sending files that are too large or too frequent. These files will impact your bandwidth costs too. Think about opt-in campaigns where users can get a taste and choose to receive these richer, more immersive and data-heavy experiences.

 

Don’t be a blockhead with Rich Notifications

With brands running to emojis for a quick if quirky engagement hit, it would be easy but wrong to approach Rich Notifications in the same manner. When rich media is tailored to specific users’ interests it adds immersive depth not interpretive color to messaging campaigns.

Remember also that not all users will immediately upgrade to iOS 10, so messaging should be made to work without reference to embedded rich media or sent specifically to the segment of your users that have adopted iOS 10. Some solutions will allow you to provide alternative text if the rich media successfully downloads.”

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