Opinions Spell Trouble for Game of War’s Over-the-Top Advertising Campaign

How to Maximize Multi-Channel Campaigns with Social Media Analytics

As social media becomes increasingly ingrained in consumers’ everyday lives, marketers and advertisers are incorporating social media into their campaign platforms through native advertising, brand profiles, and online communication with customers. While huge investments are being made online, brands have also continued to rely on traditional forms of advertising. Choosing to advertise on multiple fronts has been labeled as a new phase of advertising which is known for the multi-channel campaign.
The goal of a multi-channel campaign is that you keep consumers engaged so that they think of your product when they are ready to buy. While this can be a powerful marketing strategy, it can also backfire. Going over-the-top with a burst of advertising on multiple fronts can overwhelm and frustrate consumers, disinclining them from purchasing your product. You can also inflate consumers’ expectations of the quality of the product and leave them disappointed when they do make the purchase.
The multi-channel campaign for Game of War: Fire Age has encountered both of these problems. In November 2014, Game of War, a mobile game, launched its first global marketing campaign. The advertisements star model and actress Kate Upton, relying heavily on her sexual appeal to attract the young male demographic. Machine Zone, the parent company, spent $40 million, financing traditional as well as digital and social media advertising. Game of War even bought coveted Super Bowl airtime and featured one of these advertisements.

When the ads first appeared in November, the majority of the conversation was positive and neutral because Twitter users were commenting on seeing them and often responding positively (34%). Negative comments made up only 6% of the conversation.
The conversation in December provides a stark contrast. While the majority of the conversation is still neutral and positive, negative conversation increased to 47%. The majority of the negative conversation was made up of Twitter users stating that not even Kate Upton could make them download Game of War, criticizing the quality of the game.
In the months that follow, the conversation volume increases dramatically while it also becomes increasingly negative. Although the spike on February 1st and 2nd in response to the Super Bowl ad is largely positive and neutral, the conversation quickly returns to negative sentiment. Total positive conversation dwindled to only 12% and neutral to 17%. In contrast, negative conversation explodes, with the majority of the conversation (51%) referring to how Twitter users are never going to download the game and a significant portion (16%) wanting the commercials to go away. These trends suggest that consumers are both frustrated by the persistence of the campaign and the quality of the game.
Investigating who is engaged in the Game of War conversation provides little comfort for the gaming company. According to identifiable demographics, 73% of participants are men and 56% belong to the 18-24 age bracket and 19% to the 17 and below bracket.
Affinities align with the Game of War audience gender and age characteristics. Interests in schools, sports, and technology, point to young adult males, Game of War’s target demographic, as primary contributors to the conversation. Compared to the general Twitter audience, they are 376 times more interested in high school, 56 times more interested in SnapChat, and 3 times more interested in college football, game development, and sports news than the general Twitter audience.
Although the multi-channel campaign is a promising strategy for brands that want to keep consumers engaged, it can also have disastrous consequences if it is not monitored properly. The Game of War conversation trends illustrate how quickly the conversation can be transformed by irritated users. Social media analytics allow advertisers to identify negative trends and who is contributing to them before they take over the conversation. Readjusting a campaign, while still reaching out to consumers on multiple fronts, may prevent backlash and protect the brand’s image and advertising investment.

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