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Digital Proxies Hype Addictive Qualities of Black Ops Map Pack

  |  April 17, 2013   |  Comments

Activision wanted to make as big a splat with the content refresh for Black Ops II as it could for a complete game launch. The solution: The Replacer, a digital proxie who offers to take over a fan's life, allowing him more time to play the game.

Activision wanted to make as big a splat with the content refresh for Black Ops II as it could for a complete game launch. The solution: The Replacer, a digital proxie who offers to take over a fan's life, allowing him more time to play the game.

Last week, Activision released Call of Duty: Black Ops II Uprising, the second downloadable map pack for the Black Ops II game. Map packs include new environments in which gamers can play, to help keep the game fresh between new versions. A multi-channel interactive campaign from SapientNitro, 72andSunny and Edelman hits home the message that this game is too good to stop.

Noting that Call of Duty: Black Ops has tens of millions of active players each month, Jonathan Anastas, vice president, digital marketing at Activision, says there is a continual need for new content, answered by releasing map packs regularly. The message of the campaign, he says, is, "Everybody is going to play Call of Duty, everybody wants to spend all their time playing Call of Duty, but nobody can play the amount they'd like to or spend as much time with the new content as they'd like to.


At GetReplaced.net, fans can choose to get replaced in four life situations: at home, at work, on campus and with their "so-called friends." Clicking one of them presents more options for help. For example, in the Home Situation, fans can change their social media status with a variety of video status messages by the Replacer. They can also "save the relationship" by connecting to Yelp services in their area.

For example, if a gamer wants a sub at home, he can choose between finding a service to mow the lawn, one to clean the house, or sending flowers. In addition to fueling excitement about the game, the Replacer is sending significant traffic to such local service providers, according to Anastas, who said thousands of people have already booked housekeeping services through the site, which plugs into Yelp's APIs.

The ability to connect to social media and Yelp instead of having to go the business development route helped speed development, Anastas says. "We run very lean and fast, so the idea of doing deals seemed daunting relative to the upside," he says. "The ability to use these preexisting Web 2.0 functions and plug into their APIs was the best way to deal with it."

After getting replaced, site visitors are invited to visit the Call of Duty website, landing on a page specific to the content pack. They can also watch a "making of" trailer, download assets including wallpapers and printable "do not disturb" door hangers, and share the experience via Facebook or Twitter.

The Replacer expands on an earlier, web-only iteration. Chris Szadkowski, creative director at SapientNitro says, "There was a lot of excitement with the original Replacer trailer. We wanted to take that experience to the next level and create an interactive extension of the Replacer to strengthen the relationship with fans." His agency drove the strategy, concept development, design and implementation, while 72andSunny, the agency of record, created the trailer. Edelman is handling social posts.

Anastas called the interagency collaboration "the gold standard of integration. 72andSunny gets huge credit for crating the voice. SapientNitro's addition to the voice was, what are things people actually do on the web and how does play out in web environment? And how does it actually work? Edelman said, in what executions will this gain the greatest virality?"

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Susan Kuchinskas

Susan Kuchinskas has covered interactive advertising since its invention. The former staff writer for Adweek, Business 2.0, and M-Business covers technology, business and culture from Berkeley, CA.

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