Brands That Made a Huge Social Media Impact At the Grammys

The 2016 Grammys have come and gone, and a number of noteworthy artists walked away with the coveted trophy, including Taylor Swift, Meghan Trainor and Kendrick Lamar. However, they weren’t the only ones that benefited from the spectacular music show, as various brands got in on the action.

Here’s a rundown of brands that took part in the Grammy action, either in collaboration with a partner or through its own social means.


The insurance company found a huge audience by hosting its own Grammy-based channel on Pandora, featuring a number of performers honored with nominations at this year’s event. AdWeek, reported that the company gained a spike on social media, with the “highest responsiveness” through eValue with a score of 76.16.


The computer hardware company paired up with Lady Gaga to put together a wonderful tribute to the late David Bowie, featuring a medley of his greatest hits, including “Space Oddity,” “Suffragette City” and “Heroes.” While Gaga brought her own ferocity to the performance, Intel provided the technology to help bring it even more to life. As a result, Intel saw a spike across all its social channels, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

People Magazine

The Time Inc. based publication kept news going throughout the Grammys show, including news leading up to the event and live updates. As a result, it managed to earn the highest eValue score with 92.66. It also was the top ranked brand for Grammys coverage across both Facebook and Instagram.


The automotive company got in on the Grammy action by hosting its own up-and-coming artist competition, known as Grammy Amplifier. Visitors are able to give a variety of these artists a listen, and then vote for their favorites. Right now, the competition is down to ten finalists, with a winner likely to be chosen over the next week. As a result, Hyundai saw a huge spike during the actual show, scoring the number one overall brand rating on Twitter and earning a close second on the eValue score list, right behind People Magazine.

Hilton Hotels and Resorts

Acting as an official partner with the Grammy Awards, the hotel chain scored big with its promotions leading up to the show, including an opportunity for a lucky fan to attend in person. It made quite a presence throughout the evening, gaining nearly 1,000 new followers on Facebook.


The high-end fashion and accessory company had no trouble showing off its love for the Grammys, creating special edition timepieces that pay tribute to the show. It saw its own spike of followers as a result, with over 5,000 new followers on Twitter, and over 11,650 new fans on Instagram.

Apple May Finally Tackle Original Programming

There have been rumors of Apple introducing original programs swirling for some time now. Today, The Hollywood Reporter learned that it’s just about ready to take that step with and Beats co-founder and rapper, Dr. Dre, is kicking it off.

Dr. Dre is said to be involved with a new show called Vital Signs, in which he will appear and executive produce. The series will reportedly span six episodes, and will serve as a dramatic semi-autobiographical piece, with each episode focusing on a specific emotion and how the lead character, Dre, deals with it. The report also notes that other actors, like Sam Rockwell and Mo McCrae, have been added to the cast. Director Paul Hunter, who previously worked on a variety of music videos, is reportedly helming the project.

Neither Dre nor Apple would provide any official comment on the project, but it’s likely that the company may be saving the original programming news for its next presentation. Original programming is a move that makes sense, especially considering how popular the likes of Hulu and Netflix have become by focusing on more original TV shows and movies.

Now the only question is what service Vital Signs would benefit the most from. Apple’s new line of TV devices, which hit shelves just months ago, would obviously see a boost from broadcasting original content in HD, although desktop, laptop and mobile owners of Apple tech could also benefit from downloading it. It could also be tied in with Apple’s Music service, something that Dre has a good amount of involvement in when it comes to DJ lists and artist highlights.

While Vital Signs is the currently the only project being discussed, Apple’s programming could easily diversify this in the future. Considering Dr. Dre’s contribution to last summer’s blockbuster hit Straight Outta Compton, which drew in over $200 million worldwide, he could play a huge part in helping get new programs off the ground.

For now, fans will just have to keep an eye open for the official Signs.

How ‘Goat Simulator’ Became a Phenomenon

Originally developed as a kind of joke, Goat Simulator has turned into a phenomena that has gained over 4 million sales across PCs, consoles, and mobile platforms since its initial release on April 1, 2014. Not bad for a rocket boosted stunt goat. What’s more stunning is how Goat Simulator became Coffee Stain Studios’ most successful game without the use of traditional advertisement.

Armin Ibrisagic, game designer and PR manager at Coffee Stain Studios, will be speaking at this year’s GDC in a session titled, “PR & Marketing Lessons Learned from Goat Simulator.” There, he’ll discuss “how they managed to build a strong presence in the press without spending any money on advertisement, and how they maintain an active social media community that rivals the size of those of AAA companies.”

[a]listdaily speaks to Ibrisagic about how Goat Simulator rose to success.

Armin IbrisagicGiven how Goat Simulator started as a kind of joke prototype, did you imagine that it would grow into a phenomenon?

I don’t think anyone of us imagined that, but we’re obviously glad that it did. It’s allowed us to do so much weird stuff the last 2 years!

In what ways did you promote Goat Simulator, and what were some of your expectations?

We never try to promote our game the traditional way. We don’t try to convince people to buy it. I think Goat Simulator is the type of game that you either find funny, or you don’t. If you don’t think goats doing stupid shit is funny, then you’re obviously not going to like Goat Simulator, and you must be a terribly boring person. But I’m not going to blow sunshine up anyone’s ass to convince them. I think the best way is just to show your game to as much people as possible, and then let them decide if it’s something they want to play.

What were some of the ideas that came up in promoting Goat Simulator?

I think the free MMO expansion was probably the weirdest and craziest thing we did to promote our game. Even though the expansion was free, once we released it, it boosted the sales of our game, and we had a ton of fun making the expansion as well. I guess the hardest part when it comes to making up new stuff to do in Goat Simulator is the fact that the game is so insane already. How do you top a simulated MMO? Zombies, of course. How do you top zombies? Bank robbery. How do you top a bank robbery? Well I don’t know yet, but I’m sure we’ll make something up.

Was the April Fools Day release of the game planned or a coincidence?

Haha actually, we knew the game would be ready sometime around that date, but we thought releasing a game on April 1st was so funny that we actually reshuffled our production schedule just so we’d be able to release it exactly on that day.

What is it about Goat Simulator that appeals to so many players?

Jokes aside, a lot of big-budget games have felt really narrow to me lately. Even in open-world games, you end up doing pretty much the same thing all the time. I think Goat Simulator‘s appeal comes from the fact that there are no rules and there’s nothing expected of you, you just get to do whatever the hell you want, and I think a lot of people appreciate that.

Is the Goat Simulator promotional approach applicable to more serious games?

Probably not, but maybe occasionally. For example, I think being completely open with both the strengths and the flaws of a game is only good. It builds up a lot of trust between players and developers. Also, (almost) all games could use some comedy!

Did your promotional approach change with the mobile releases?

Not at all. We kinda just press the submit button on the Apple Store and then we start drinking.

Goat Simulator has recently got a Payday-style DLC expansion. What kinds of thieving skills does the goat bring to the table?

  1. You can buy a paper bag of poo, put it outside someone’s house, and then set it on fire
  2. You can steal cars
  3. You can actually steal all kinds of shit
  4. You can steal people’s cats and make sausage out of them

What do you think of all these goats showing up in commercials these days?

I think the marketing people on big corporations are following me. It’s kind of like in that series Mr. Robot, but these guys are smaller, more like goblins than people. Sometimes they steal odd socks from me, or turn household appliances on or off. I’ll get you, marketing goblin thieves!

Oxent CEO Discusses ESWC Brand Change And ESports Expansion

After 13 years of running the Electronic Sports World Cup (ESWC), French parent company Oxent has re-positioned its brand to become an eSports convention rather than a stand-alone league. The move comes as major companies such as Electronic Arts and Activision Blizzard bring eSports internally. ESWC is working with Activision Blizzard on the Call of Duty World League for the Paris tour stop May 6-8.

The company is also expanding its competition to Korea with ESWC Korea June 24-26 on Jeju Island. And it will return for its sixth Paris Games Week event in October. Matthieu Dallon, co-founder and CEO of Oxent and creator of the ESWC, explains what the corporate change opens up for game makers, sponsors, and brands in this exclusive interview.

matthieu-dallon-portraitHow have you seen eSports evolve in the 13 years since ESWC launched?

ESports values haven’t changed. What motivates the champions, their coaches, and the spectators hasn’t moved an inch. All the intensity you see today was already there in the competitions in the 2000s.

The professional ecosystem has developed, though. It started from nothing, and now it’s the most fantastic segment in entertainment, involving the biggest players in tech, IP management, media, and sports from around the world. Now we have to engage institutions and schools on a local level to have complete vertical coverage, just like with traditional sports.

The rise of eSports is undeniably part of the digital revolution that society is going through today. I’m actually convinced that eSports is the logical outcome of the digital revolution.

What has been the key to your organization’s longevity in the eSports market over time?

That’s a tough question, because looking into the keys to longevity means having to figure out what both the successes and the failures have in common. By way of example, I’ll say that today I still work with the same people I hired 16 years ago. We’re an agile team, very close, and driven by some ideals for electronic sports. We’ve been able to adapt to each period by trying to avoid resistance to change.

You can see that in the range of games we’ve chosen. Today we can produce the best competition in the world for both Call of Duty and Just Dance. We took risks with innovative event set-ups and stages that made eSports history, like 10 years ago at Paris Bercy, in 2006.

We’ve always had a policy of being genuinely open and international. Offline, we’ve brought together players from the US, Europe, and countries like Iran, South Africa, and Mongolia for example, mixing men and women as much as possible.

What opportunities has the recent integration of eSports internally at publishers such as Electronic Arts and Activision Blizzard opened up for your company?

The integration of eSports value creation by the rights-holders means, first of all, that we are going to enter a cycle where independent competition brands will disappear. And our branding as a “Convention’”is a clear consequence.

It also means that companies that generate billions of dollars each year are going to be competing with each other trying to provide the best eSports experience possible, for both the players and the spectators. The eSports market is going to get a lot bigger and more dynamic. There’s going to be an incredible increase in innovation in games and production value in eSports, which will propel the entire ecosystem upwards.

What opportunities has the sale of MLG assets to Activision Blizzard opened up to your company?

I think that Activision Blizzard will do excellent work, and I hope that the former MLG team will fully accomplish their vision, now that they’re at the core-level of things. I’m proud to be working with them on our next event.

How do you see your company evolving this year with the new name?

The main business for our company, Oxent, is developing the eSports platform, which involves 70 percent of our resources. At the same time we produce ESWC events with the objective of becoming the “Comic-Con” of eSports, open to all IPs and competitions. This new approach is letting us organize an event for Call of Duty fans in Paris in May as part of the COD World League. We also have other projects in the pipeline with Blizzard and Ubisoft.

This new positioning of the ESWC brand, and the new approach to the market, converges with our policy of developing Toornament, which is a platform open to all competitions and games.


What do you feel you offer that an ESL or Gfinity doesn’t when it comes to reach and specialties?

As far as the ESWC is concerned, I think that one of the important differences lies in our being open to teams and players from around the world, who get then the opportunity to challenge the famous top pro-teams.

But the main difference is in our Toornament project. We publish an open platform that can be accessed as SaaS and through APIs by the entire industry, which ESL and Gfinity could also use, by the way. We finished the beta phase six months ago and we already federate over 20,000 tournament organizers in more than 100 countries.

We’ve seen your company put a focus on female eSports that stands out. What role do you see female eSports playing for your company moving forward?

The decision to open up competitions to women, or to encourage a mix in tournaments and events, is not a corporate strategy. First of all, it’s an ethical question that plays a role in our vision of eSports, and it’s also a social question that motivates us every day. ESports cannot be men-only. Today, most games are designed by men for a male market. I think that will change. And if we can contribute to that change, we will be proud to do so.

How have you seen the Paris eSports community specifically grow?

The ESWC has led the way in helping the French public learn about eSports. The mainstream media have largely covered the phenomenon for years, from every possible angle. We have two TV channels dedicated to gaming and the Paris Games Week, which is today the third biggest trade show for video games in the world with over 300,000 visitors each year; where ESWC plays a major role. So in France, there are a lot of fans eager for eSports, and it guarantees a unique atmosphere.

What opportunities do you see for your brand in Korea, the Mecca of eSports?

First of all, it’s a symbol. One of the reasons I became a committed eSports professional was the first WCG in Korea in 2001, where I was managing the French team and a certain ElkY, who was beaten in the final by SlayerS_Boxer on StarCraft.

Today, organizing international tournaments in Korea in partnership with Blizzard will enable the ESWC to spread throughout Asia. In Korea we’ve been working with a partner for quite some time, ESGames (, who is also active in the Chinese market. We have a lot to learn from their maturity and the way eSports can contribute to culture and education.

Are there plans to expand into other countries as well?

Yes. In 2017 we should be in a position to announce events on every continent. Now that we are no longer restricted to the calendar of only one world cup per year, it’s easier for us to adapt to local markets, with different games and at different times of the year. For 13 years we built up a network of ESWC affiliates in over 70 countries, limited to national operations. The most ambitious of them, and there are a lot, now hope to develop international productions with the best players in the world, and the ESWC brand will help them.

Where do you see your company five years from now?

Pipedream scenario: thanks to the Toornament project, sometime in the next two years Oxent is acquired by Disney, in order to develop the new eSports ESPN using data from hundreds of thousands of tournaments. The ESWC becomes the leading annual convention, which no IP holder can afford not to take part in. I stay at the helm for two more years to ensure the objectives of the acquisition are fully achieved. Then, free of any non-competition commitment, in 2020 I join the Paris 2024 Olympic Organizing Committee to supervise the integration of the new eSports disciplines.

Razer Puts Gamers First With ESports, Virtual Reality and Hardware

Top-notch video game weaponry is as fundamental of a desire as a battle-ending kill. For over 10 years, blood-thirsty gamers and the like have learned to love the arsenal of artillery, technology and gadgets Razer has introduced to the market. One constant has remained since Day 1: putting the best interests of gamers first.

Razer CEO and co-founder Min-Liang Tan joined [a]listdaily for a wide-ranging interview to discuss the company’s latest products, and ventures into eSports, virtual reality, and more.

What has the response and reception been like to the products unveiled at CES this year?

The responses have been incredible. We went into the show as the only company in the nearly 50-year history of CES to win five straight official ‘best of’ awards. We made it a six-year streak this year with the Razer Blade Stealth. We designed this system as an Ultrabook for gamers, but it went on to hit a chord with editors who hailed it as the ultimate laptop in its class and an industry game-changer. The Blade Stealth’s innovative design, screen resolution, chip set and portable form factor make it a beast of a machine on the go. Its price (starting at $999) left people speechless. We’re talking about a state-of-the-art computer that is hundreds of dollars cheaper than lesser models, even the big PC makers and Apple. What’s more, users get desktop-gaming performance with their Blade Stealth when it is connected to the Razer Core. A single Nvidia Thunderbolt 3 connection is all that’s needed to connect the system to our groundbreaking graphics booster. We also unveiled the Razer Stargazer at the show, the world’s most advanced webcam. Streamers and content producers alike were clamoring over that. Also popular was our Nabu Watch, which places the sensor and communications functions of the Nabu smartband into a great-looking, affordable watch.

How is Razer differentiating itself from the other high-performance gaming hardware, software and systems currently on the market?

We make products for gamers – that’s our unique differentiator. Whereas other manufacturers produce items based on price or to exploit one or another technological advent, we focus our attention 100 percent on making things that will work perfectly for gaming and support the gaming lifestyle. We put buttons on mice where MMO players would want them, or levers and buttons on console controllers where they make sense for FPS games. We use sensors that are so accurate that they exceed editors’ abilities to test them, but which work great on 4K gaming arrays. We create laptops that are impossibly portable and powerful, because gamers on the go need it. Most oftentimes, we make something because nobody else will. We stand out from competitors by putting gamers first and profitability and market demand second. Razer is the only brand that makes high-end hardware for every type of gamer out there: PC, console or mobile, professional, serious or casual. We make sure that our products connect to each other, that they work together, and don’t obsolesce. All our hardware connects back to the cloud, so settings are always accessible to users and firmware ensures peoples’ favorite devices work with the latest generation of games. One of that team’s biggest initiatives for 2016 will be game integration for our Nabu wearable platform and our Razer Chroma lighting. Nobody else spends time and resources on things like that, but they add so much to the gaming experience. We already have huge games like Call of Duty, Overwatch and Blade and Soul on board and in ongoing development. Our investment in virtual reality is another exciting project for us with great potential. The Razer OSVR development kit and software platform will see many improvements this year, which will help every technologist and game publisher edge closer to consumer-ready products soon.

What can consumers expect from Razer’s camera powered by Intel?

The needs for webcams have grown tremendously in the past few years with the advent of game streaming. According to a study released last fall, more than 7.5 million minutes have been livestreamed on Twitch alone. Many of these streams superimpose players into the games themselves, and that’s where old webcams struggle. The Razer Stargazer bucks that trend and is the most powerful webcam ever created. Traditional webcams were needed for video conferencing with frame rate capture of only 30 frames-per-second, but the Razer Stargazer is capable of matching high-quality game streams with 60 frames-per-second. Intel RealSense technology makes this more than just a high-powered webcam. One of the most exciting advents there is Dynamic Background Removal, which gives gamers a true ‘green screen effect’ without the need for a studio, lights, or the actual green screen. This allows gamers to superimpose themselves in their game streams without showing their background. The Razer Stargazer also supports facial and gesture recognition, 3D scanning and more. In short, a professional streaming setup is more attainable than ever to amateur streamers out there. According to that same study I referenced earlier, there are almost 2 million broadcasters on Twitch, so the market for such a powerful and smart webcam is huge. min-liang-tan-razer2

How is Razer marketing “Open Source Virtual Reality”? How will VR be a driver of new PC sales?

VR is creating a new way for people to experience games. It’s hard to say how big that market is or will become, but the technology is incredible, and companies like Oculus are bundling high-end PCs to power the hardware and software required with the headsets coming to market this year. We see this as a great thing for PC gamers, and the PC in general, as powerful machines will be in the hands of more people than ever before. However, we’re still in the very early stages of VR becoming truly accessible. Open Source Virtual Reality, or OSVR, is designed to support the growth of virtual reality headsets and other hardware, software and content to a more polished state that can be available to everyone, from the hackers to the general consumer. It’s not a competitor to what Oculus, HTC, Sony and others are doing. Instead, OSVR provides a single software plugin that makes every virtual reality device compatible with another within the OSVR ecosystem. Companies as big as Intel and Ubisoft are involved. All told, since OSVR’s was introduced at CES 2015, we have more than 300 partners in just over a year.

Lenovo and Razer recently teamed up to co-brand and co-market the Razer Edition gaming systems based on the Lenovo Y series. What are some other ways the company is repositioning to remain nimble in the future?

Our mission statement at Razer – For Gamers, By Gamers – presupposes an ultimately open platform from which we develop products and services for gamers. How our specific offerings manifest is solely in response to meeting the needs of the gaming community, whose needs are constantly evolving from within gaming and also from without it in terms of their lifestyle. Insofar as proactivity is concerned, we maintain key relationships and stay up to speed with respective development in areas of interest to gamers – ourselves included. Specifically, the partnership with Lenovo is focused on creating Razer Editions of some of the Lenovo Y Series products, two of which were announced at CES. Both brands will continue to create and market products under their respective brands outside of the scope of the partnership.

ESports is an arena that Razer is currently playing a big role in. How does the company plan on developing the engagement and experience for that platform in 2016?

One of the things we’re most excited about in terms of eSports engagement is Razer Arena. We see Razer Arena as a solution to open-up the full potential of tournament gaming for players, organizers and fans alike, which could lead to more players, more engagement, and ultimately more interest in eSports. The utility of our program applies to the most popular competitive titles today, including League of Legends, Call of Duty, CSGO, Dota2, World of Warcraft and others. What we’ve provided is a fully automated online tournament platform that covers a tournament lifecycle from start to finish, making it simple for organizers to create professional-grade tournaments and for players to participate. While there is more interest in eSports now than ever before, Razer has been involved in competitive gaming since the beginning. Before Arena, the vast majority of gamers didn’t have tools to really support tournaments, which are so critical for the growth of new talent. Being an online platform means that we’re not limited by physical boundaries, so the promise of Razer Arena is greater reach and more opportunities for aspiring players to shine.

How do you market to millennials as opposed to Generation X? Which markets would you consider experimenting more with?

We create and market all of our products for the benefit of gamers everywhere. Whether they’re Generation X, Millennial, Generation Z, or otherwise, Razer is committed to making great products that have profound effects on how people experience their favorite games. In terms of other markets we’re exploring more, Razer will always be focused on the gamer, but the technology we’re creating can benefit really anyone.

Follow Manouk Akopyan on Twitter @Manouk_Akopyan.

Stuart Duncan Discusses Icejam’s ‘Playable Data’ Plan

Icejam wants to make big waves in the mobile community, starting with its newest initiative. It recently raised $3 million in an effort to back its Playable Data platform, promising it would be just as vital a “transformative technology” as virtual and augmented reality.

To get better clarity on just what Playable Data will bring to gaming, [a]listdaily sat down with founder and CEO Stuart Duncan, who previously worked with the likes of Bight Games and EA Mobile Studios before starting fresh with Icejam.

“Playable Data is our Big-Data collection and processing environment that enables us to integrate real-time, real-world data streams into our games to really enhance gameplay,” said Duncan. “Data streams, for example, can be collected from a wide variety of global, local or personal sources (e.g. devices and wearables) and interjected throughout our games providing personalized context and a constantly changing game environment. Are games that use our platform more fun? We think so.”

But how exactly does this into gameplay sessions? “Playable Data provides a dynamic, living, breathing situational context that the game designer can draw on to interact with players.

“Our platform utilizes big data to solve the notification problem for example,” Duncan continued. “There is a tendency for mobile games to deliver too many notifications to the point where players begin disabling or ignoring them. Constant notifications can become an annoyance to players. Instead of players being prompted to interact with their game through notifications, the real world can provide players with cues to open their game based on what is going on around them. Thus live real world events become entangled with the game play itself – prompting users to engage and take advantage of the situations that arise in the game based on the real-world data feeds. It’s really quite cool.

“We built a Playable Data platform that is independent of the game client and communicates with it. The platform gathers local, global and personal player data in turn making it available to the game designer to use as triggers in the gameplay.”

The team isn’t in any rush to get it to market, though. “Like all other high quality game publishers, we will only bring the game to market when it’s ready. We are working towards our soft launch to begin in the spring with the global launch to follow when we know we have it tuned just right,” Duncan explained.

“Our platform has progressed to the point where we’ve taken a seed investment from Build Ventures. They are investing in our technology and the exceptional team we’ve assembled to bring it to life. Their recent $3M investment will allow us to continue to expand our team across a variety of disciplines, including marketing and product development, enabling us to further advance our platform and deliver our first game to market.”

As for the mobile gaming market in itself, Duncan simply concluded, “Everyone talks about the high cost of user acquisition and only those with bundles of cash being able to survive. I think they have taken their eye off the ball. While others look to consolidation and ever bigger marketing spends, we believe that this trend toward consolidation has everyone forgetting why we are all here. That is to engineer amazing new ways to have fun with mobile games. That’s what the players want, that’s what investors are looking for and that’s where we come in…creating new ways to engage players. We believe that F2P mobile games can be better, and while others are focused on consolidation – we are focused on making games more engaging and fun to play in ways none of us have ever seen before.

“F2P needs innovation and Icejam has been attracting attention due to its visionary approach to integrating real-world data into the free-to-play mobile game experience.”

James Harden’s Beard Is The Big Appeal For Taco Bell

NBA stars like Michael Jordan and LeBron James both have reputations that promote brands like Nike, but James Harden’s offbeat style is making for some interesting advertising – and that could be just the thing to catch the eye of millennials.

AdWeek recently reported on how the Houston Rockets guard’s appeal  is finding a way to attract the usually hard-to-reach audience, through both Taco Bell’s highly effective Super Bowl spot and his various appearances in commercials for Trolli’s gummi candies.

Though Howard’s appearance in the Taco Bell ad is brief, it’s quite noteworthy, especially with his beard getting a specific mention.

No matter how small the appearance, however, his presence is quite effective in this advertising, especially with Trolli’s ads. “The core Trolli target is millennials and Gen Z consumers,” said Jill Manchester, senior vice president of marketing and brand strategy for Ferrara. “We know these consumers like to keep it real and be authentic to their true self. This same spirit is what rives Trolli and drives James.”

It helps that Harden has a huge outreach on the social front, with over seven million fans following him on Twitter and plenty of memorable appearances on the basketball court, including his infamous “eye fade” look he gave following a game back in November.

It’s a campaign that’s not only effective with creativity, but also giving Harden something he enjoys working with. One Trolli ad features his head practically turning into a fortress with various defenses, while another has his beard being interviewed while “taking a break from his face.” It even poked a small jab at his Adidas endorsement deal, but obviously bleeped out the name of the company.

Trolli also took advantage of the advertising by changing its “Weirdly Awesome” logo to “#BeardlyAwesome,” and with strong results on the social media front. That’s just the beginning, though, as the superstar will soon have his own line of Trolli candies – featuring Weird Beards.

That’s something that the millennial audience is sure to eat up.

Deadpool’s Insanely Effective Marketing

As you may have learned by now, the Deadpool movie is nothing sort of a colossal success, generating over $150 million in box office revenue over the President’s Day weekend. Part of that success owes credit to an insane marketing strategy.

While the film stays true to the ridiculous, over-the-top, tone that the comic book series, Deadpool marketing also mirrored that effort. Usually, superhero films consist of big-budget commercials and promotional pushes through toys and other fare. However, that wasn’t the case with Deadpool, considering his R-rated antics.

Advertising for the film went all over the place in terms of creativity. Along with featuring images of the masked assassin appear in a number of advertisements, there were also more creative means to promoting the film, like utilizing emojis to spell out his name on a billboard, as seen in the image below.


It also took an off-beat approach, with one particular advertisement noting that Deadpool was, in fact, a love story, similar to previous films starring actor Ryan Reynolds. In fact, Reynolds tweeted out the image below the month before the film’s release, featuring no mention of superhero antics, and instead making it look like a typical romance film.

Deadpool‘s appearances weren’t just limited to advertisements, suggestive posters and a standee where visitors could sit in his lap through a cardboard seat. He also made several viral appearances leading up to the film’s release, including a profile on Tinder, an active YouTube channel featuring a number of topics, like addressing the film’s lack of a PG-13 rating on a fake episode of Extra and a Halloween visit with children that goes insanely wrong. All in addition to an appearance on TBS’ Conan show, where he gives host Conan O’Brien a curious massage.

Deadpool Tinder

Deadpool also made an impact on the social front with the introduction of various emoji, featuring different expressions of the assassin’s face. By downloading a free app, fans could implement the emoji into their messages, in turn spreading word about the film while celebrating their irreverent hero.

Deadpool Emoji

The hero also got busy during the holidays, releasing a number of YouTube videos to celebrate his take on the holidays, ranging from clips from the film to original content, like the debut of the “Pool Log,” a humorous take on the fireplace videos that had been popular with viewers over the years.

Perhaps where Deadpool‘s promotion was most effective was Fox’s involvement with pre-Super Bowl shenanigans. The studio was out in full force in San Francisco before the event to hype the film, alongside Independence Day: Resurgence and X-Men Apocalypse, but Deadpool got primary treatment. Ryan Reynolds made the journey to the city to promote the film, alongside co-star T.J. Miller. In addition to “taking over a bar” and renaming it after a location from the movie, the star also served up chimichangas – a favorite delicacy of Deadpool‘s – and took part in the film’s world premiere. On top of that, several videos emerged from the takeover, including this interactive 360-degree video on Facebook featuring several Deadpools getting in on the action.

See Deadpool everywhere (especially in theaters)Deadpool: 24/7, 360º a year. See Deadpool, now in theaters.

Posted by Deadpool Movie on Saturday, February 13, 2016

It wasn’t just one specific factor of advertising that made Deadpool work so well – it was pretty much all of it, tying in with the hero’s not-so-subtle style of jabs and R-rated humor. Perhaps we’ll see other superhero films take this sort of approach with advertising, considering how effective this campaign was.

Not bad for a movie that got its start as a leaked test video.

Deadpool is in theaters now.

Deadpool Poster

Newzoo Partners to Build New Mobile Intelligence Consortium

Similar to the to the mobile game industry itself, Newzoo has been growing at a incredible rate. Over the past few weeks, the market data and analysis company announced partnerships with deltaDNA and Priori Data. It also announced a strategic minority stake investment from TalkingData, China’s largest mobile internet big data technology company, this morning — another important step in further becoming a new global leader in mobile data and intelligence.

[a]listdaily talks to Peter Warman, Co-Founder and CEO of Newzoo, about the kind of deeper insights these partnerships might uncover and what the company might have in store.

In what ways will the combined data from Newzoo, deltaDNA, TalkingData and Priori Data provide a more complete picture of the mobile gaming market?

With most of our clients, we have a relationship that goes back years. As the cooperation deepens, more client-specific challenges are put on our plate, including ones that used to be outside the scope of our products and services.

Particularly on mobile, it requires various angles and data sources to come to truly unique and client-specific insights backing up smart strategic, tactical and operational decisions. These formal strategic partnerships allow us to mix up data on a continuous basis and develop new joint products and services. This new mobile intelligence consortium offers everything from consumer insights, granular revenue projections for every country in the world, app store data, device usage, ad intelligence to monetization metrics, on a global and local scale.

We have an ambitious product roadmap in place that will ensure our solutions are accessible and affordable for companies of any size in any market. Our clients highly value our custom analysis support that comes with all of our subscriptions. We want to make sure future users of any of the mobile intelligence products coming from us, and from our partners, experience the same.

Equally important to the complimentary market intelligence of these partners is our common and intrinsic desire to innovate. This includes innovation in technology, data visualization, making data actionable and staying ahead of the curve when it comes to market trends.

Has collaborating in the past yielded any surprising discoveries?

It certainly has. We do a lot of analysis on Asia to help our clients develop a realistic and smart roll-out plan for that region. In one instance, we looked at KPIs per country on all levels such as revenue projections, big spender profiles, app store data and in-game metrics and combined this with our predictive analytics approach. From this, we were able to size and profile the current as well as the future opportunity for a specific game title. This resulted in an alternative roll-out strategy for one of our clients, particularly for greater Southeast Asia, that we did not consider at the start of the analysis.

How will the investment from TalkingData further strengthen Newzoo’s data services?

The year 2015 was Newzoo’s biggest year to date, doubling our headcount and turnover. We did not need an investment. Still, the money involved in cementing our relationship with TalkingData comes at a perfect time when our growth strategy has never been clearer.

The investment allows us to accelerate this plan and dedicate more time to new product development, an even higher standard of client service and global presence in terms of staff. Even though approximately 75 percent of our business comes from the US, we are only now seriously building our San Francisco office within the tech-hub RocketSpace. Key staff will move from HQ to the US and we have already have filled two of our five job openings in the US. TalkingData not only gives us real-time data on close to a billion connected devices in China, it also gives us an extensive business network within China. Its corporate event late last year, at which we both announced our partnership, was attended by 2,000 professionals from the biggest and most innovative firms in China.

As video games continue to grow and evolve, particularly with eSports models and the emerging VR platforms, what will be some of the key trends to keep an eye on?

Driven by the convergence of games and video, games have evolved towards cross-screen transmedia franchises. ESports is only the very visible part of a large scale change in the market that only occurs when various consumer, technology and business trends come together. It is the biggest thing to hit the games market since the launch of the iPhone in 2007. Though not as tangible, it is equally as disruptive.

Everyone agrees that over time, VR and AR will change the way we interact with people, our environment and content. Mass adoption of these technologies into our daily lives will take a generation or two. Until that time, VR provides the ultimate form of entertainment and will slowly move from niche to mainstream. I expect good hardware sales but less of an impact on game software revenues. As it stands, VR is not creating new time spent on entertainment such as the mobile screens did. The game software revenues it will generate will cannibalize spending on other “screens”, especially console gaming in the Western world. We take VR game revenues into account as part of our Entertainment Screen.

A business trend related to the convergence of games and video is the increased focus on communities. Communities of gamers and communities of viewers. Following the Asian model of owning a larger chunk of the value chain around the development of entertainment content, there will be an increased effort by game publishers to grow, maintain and monetize communities.

Given the data you have right now with these partnerships, how would you describe the average mobile games user?

I think everyone agrees that there is no average mobile gamer. There are Big Spenders, there are Free Marketers (people playing a couple hours a day but never spend) and an endless number of segments that can be relevant to a specific company. Another example where using averages is useless, is with in-game metrics. Average metrics are simply not good enough to be successful. This is one of the reasons why we work with metrics from deltaDNA and make sure our clients use metrics in their business plan that truly make sense.

The DICE Summit and Awards: Major Impact on the Games Industry

The DICE Summit, presented by the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences (AIAS) is the annual gathering of the games industry’s top creative people and executives, taking place this year February 16 through 18th at the Mandalay Bay and Delano Hotel in Las Vegas. During the Summit, the DICE Awards are presented, honoring the top games of the year in a variety of categories.

These awards are seen as the premiere game awards because they are awarded by the members of the industry, in the same way the Motion Picture Academy Awards (the Oscars) are awarded. Because of this, the marketing impact of these awards is huge. You can bet every game that wins a DICE award will be spreading that news far and wide, because this sort of independent judgement of a game’s quality is very influential in getting the attention of game players and ultimately, sales.

The [a]listdaily caught up with AIAS president Martin Rae to talk about the DICE Summit, the DICE Awards, and the impact they have on the games industry.

MARTIN RAE - Headshot 2015 LO RESHow has the DICE show changed over time?

Let me start with why DICE is important, and I think it’s really important on a couple of fronts. The awards show was born out of a desire by industry players that  here we are, an incredibly important big industry, that doesn’t necessarily do a great job of recognizing the creative talent of their peers. They used the Motion Picture Academy as their model. They said let’s have a professionally vetted membership base, that every year can look at the historical year at great creative accomplishments and let’s publicly recognize them. We have over 30,000 members, all professionals in the industry, they’re the people involved with creating the games. They select from the nominations what they consider the best of the best for the finalists, and it’s peer-voted. I don’t think there’s a greater honor than being recognized as the best by your peers.

On the summit side I think we do a pretty good job of getting really bright people on stage. What we try to do is have forward-looking and inspirational talks. I always like to think that if you attend the sessions and pay attention, there will be things that you bring home to your team, to your company, to your personal life that really improves how you create things or how you go about your life.

This year we have a great mix of people, great game creators and designers, really interesting entertainers in their own right. We have Guillermo del Toro, Todd Howard, the Glu folks who have redefined the celebrity model for putting games out. We’ll have film folks up their talking about how you take care of properties cross-media. We have Penn Jillette, very talented and successful entertainer, author, and magician, and he’s doing some interesting game stuff with Randy Pitchford and the Gearbox folks. He’s a unique creative mind that other people can learn from. We’re lucky to have people like that who say “this industry is important, and we want to hit the stage and talk to your folks.” Many of these are not game designers or developers, they’re just great creative minds.

Automobiles have become a platform, not just a user platform but an experience platform. It’s almost gamelike. We’ll have some folks that are intimately involved with technology and things that we’ve learned from the game business about how they’re designing platforms within an automobile.

We had a very good experience at our conference in Barcelona, we did some roundtables. A moderator kicks it off with nine other people at the table, then it’s a freeform discussion for sixty minutes. We don’t stream it, there’s no pres sin the room, so it can be very candid. People said there was unbelievable energy in the room, and we’ve brought it to Las Vegas.

How has the impact of the DICE awards changed in this, the 19th year of the awards?

The stature has grown. People at the awards tell me the DICE award is the one award they want to win most. As the industry has evolved, the awards have evolved. Early on there were console-specific awards, and it’s much different now. As an example from four or five years ago, Angry Birds ended up as finalist for game of the year, and at the time people said “it’s just a little mobile game, how can you even look at that?” And our peers said this, in their opinion, was one of the top five games of the year. It had that big of an impact on them from a consumption and gameplay perspective. Something like that would have been unheard of early on. Anything now that breaks a boundary from a design perspective or an engagement perspective can get recognized. It’s much more wide open from that perspective.

As a recent example, we honored the Apple App Store last year with our technical impact award. Why would that be honored? When you really look at, when our board considered that, it has had a fundamental impact on distribution, accessibility, and recognition for independent developers that has been really profound. It spread the demographic for games immediately. That’s another example of how our awards have evolved.

You have VR and AR being represented in the events area at DICE. What’s ahead for designers and developers in the coming year with those technologies? What other important trends do you see?

They’re already looking hard at VR and AR. VR has been around for quite some time, it always had some interest in the technology. Back when I had a game studio we were working on some stuff for the Virtual Boy for Nintendo. Back then the promise was there, but the reality wasn’t. Now from a technical perspective we’re to the point where you can really do something with VR now. That’s really exciting. We have FaceIT there with a celebrity eSports tournament. I think eSports is just the tip of the iceberg now – you’ve got a whole generation growing up with ganes , appreciate them from a competitive perspective, and that’s an area that will only get bigger. Every game designer now sits down and thinks “What can I do with  AR and VR? What can I do from an eSports perspective to get my community engaged in things that have value?” Games are becoming a longer term service and a piece of someone’s life. In many respects, the thirty-hour experience, while valuable , becomes even more valuable if they can continue to play with their friends over the long term. People are social creatures and they want to play with each other, they want to have social relationships, and we get to do all of that – you can play any time, any where, with someone across the globe. It’s much different than an other entertainment medium.

How do you promote the awards, and let the world of gamers at large know about the awards?

We’re streaming on multiple channels, YouTube, Twitch, Hitbox, a number of channels. They’re all promoting out to the broader game community. The nice thing about today, versus nineteen years ago when we started, is that with social media and almost instant communication, the ability to hit Internet streams, a lot of people can get involved. Some will watch the whole thing, some will watch pieces, many will just communicate socially about it. Who won, who didn’t win, what they say on stage – they’ll experience it in a lot of different ways. It will be promoted heavily through all our stream partners and through press and social media channels.

The live stream for DICE can be found at: