Pepsi Harnesses The Power Of Emojis In Five-Second Ads

Spring is in the air, but Pepsi is ready for summer with over one-hundred 5-second ads for TV and online markets. These vignettes feature Pepsi bottles enjoying popular summer activities like sunbathing or eating ice cream, conveying quick but effective ideas through the use of emojis—specifically, designs by PepsiCo called “PepsiMoji.” A similar campaign was executed in Canada last summer, followed by Russia, Thailand and Pakistan and a specially-designed version will finally reach the U.S. this year.

Emojis have become increasingly popular in digital conversations, and the soda giant hopes to capitalize on the way these colorful icons tell a story without words. “We have the emojis elevate the stories in a way that we haven’t been able to before,” Linda Lagos, Pepsi brand marketing and digital director told Adweek. The ads will be accompanied by the hashtag, #sayitwithpepsi.

The particularly short length of these ads are unusual for TV commercials, and although Lagos says it was a challenge to convince networks to run the 5-second spots, Viacom, Turner Broadcasting and others are now on board.


Summer Online Searches Will Trigger Pepsi Ads

Pepsi also worked with Google to determine the top summer-related search terms, and have planned accordingly. For example, searching for “fireworks” or “tanning” will trigger one of the five-second spots related to that idea.

Pepsimoji uses the brand’s signature round shape and red, white and blue colors. These icons will be featured on Pepsi’s entire portfolio of bottles and cans throughout 100 global and locally-tailored markets. The company is embracing the idea of emojis beyond their drinks, making strategic partnerships in the world of fashion and sports. These efforts include a fashion collaboration with sports fashion designer, Jeremy Scott and a PepsiCo partnership with UEFA (Union of European Football Associations). Story, a gallery-like store in New York, is currently hosting four weeks of Pepsi-themed emoji events, “inspiring you to play with your words, food, even your clothes. Put on a happy face and let’s get emojional.”

“Emojis are definitely here to stay. They’re global. My dad, who lives in Honduras, sends me emojis every day, which is hilarious,” Linda Lagos said. “What we love about them, which is so in tune with what Pepsi is about, is that they are a really great form of self-expression. And at Pepsi, we’ve celebrated all forms of self-expression.”

‘Uncharted 4’ Promotion Goes Above And Beyond

Sony has often been criticized for not providing enough promotional support for many of its first-party games, but it looks like no such complaints can be made for Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End. First announced for the PlayStation 4 in 2013, Naughty Dog’s fourth game in the series will finally conclude Nathan Drake’s adventures for lost treasure and fame. As the final game in the immensely popular series, Sony is going all-out with one of PlayStation’s biggest marketing campaigns.

Covering The UK

This week’s issue of MCV illustrates information provided by Sony UK, detailing how the company was making sure everyone knew about the game. When it came to television, Sony made sure Uncharted 4 trailers were shown during key moments, including the season finale of The Walking Dead and the Game of Thrones premiere. Plus, trailers were shown during major sporting events such as the Champions League Finals.

In a similar promotion, a brand new Uncharted 4 trailer debuted in theaters with the premiere of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and Uncharted ads were seen with the premieres of Deadpool and Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice. They will be shown again when Captain America: Civil War, X-Men: Apocalypse, and Bad Neighbors 2 respectively hit theaters.

When consumers weren’t watching screens, Uncharted 4 posters could be seen on billboards, in the London Underground, and on bus sides. However, some of the more impressive sponsorship partners included the UEFA Champions League, where a rolling PlayStation 4 banner featuring Uncharted 4 could be prominently seen across the entire perimeter of the stadium during the Champions League—said to be the biggest club football competition in the world. Additionally, the animated coin toss transitioned into an Uncharted 4 logo, and the same promotion is likely to appear in the final in Milan on May 28.

Sony’s digital advertising boasted over 100 million impressions across all beats, including multiple YouTube mastheads, Twitter trends, digital video seeding, and homepage takeovers of sports, gaming and lifestyle sites. But some of the most unique promotions could be seen at retail sites, which included pallets with Nathan Drake swinging from real ropes, treasure chests, and window vinyls that show the hero crashing through the pane of glass.

Playing To PS4 Fans

Despite having seen multiple delays, fans are still eager to get their hands on Uncharted 4, and much of that has to do with the gameplay reveals shown at major events. Last year’s E3 saw a 15-minute gameplay video where Drake and Sully go on a wild car chase. This was later contrasted by a 5-minute PlayStation Experience trailer, which debuted last December and showcased a quieter moment of storytelling and characterization.

It shouldn’t be overlooked that Uncharted 4 began its multiplayer beta at around the same time as the PlayStation Experience, giving fans everywhere a chance to check out the action first-hand. This was followed up by a stress test held in early March, giving those who missed out on the beta another chance to try it out.

Furthermore, Drake got his very own Uncharted bundle in time for the holidays, which included remastered editions of all three previous games, together with a 500GB PS4. The $50 holiday price discount made the deal hard to resist, but it shouldn’t be confused with the Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End Limited Edition bundle, which recently became available for pre-order. That package includes a copy of Uncharted 4 and a special PlayStation 4 featuring Nathan Drake silk screened artwork atop it. Unfortunately, the Limited Edition bundle does not include the “Libertalia Collector’s Edition” of the game, which features a steel book case, a 48-page hardcover art book by Dark Horse, and a 12-inch Drake statue.


A World Of Adventure

More adventurous fans can take advantage of the Uncharted 4 Around The World Sweepstakes, which is pretty much as straightforward as it sounds. Contestants who pre-order the game from participating retailers will receive a unique code that can be registered on the official sweepstakes website. Then they can flip a coin up to five times a week for a chance to win prizes such as Sony h.ear headphones, a Sony pico projector, or an unlocked Xperia Z5 smartphone. While many will be extremely happy with either the Collector’s Edition or the Limited Edition Bundle, the grand prize is a trip for two around the world. The contest ends on May 15, but pre-orders end on May 9.

These are just some of the big promotions Sony has launched so far, and the company promises that there’s more in store before Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End officially releases on May 10.

How Undefeated Remade An Iconic Nike Commercial In Virtual Reality

There’s no brand on the planet better associated with basketball than Nike. For a company eponymous with the likes of Michael Jordan—“it’s gotta be the shoes!”—and Kobe Bryant, sneakerheads and hoops fans alike have a voluminous vault of kicks, and the commercials that accompany it, that speak to them.

One of Nike’s most iconic commercials is “Freestyle,” a 150-second soundtrack of NBA stars and streetballers performing grade-A acrobatics and ball wizardry while squeaking their sneakers to a soothing chorus.

The commercial debuted at the 2001 NBA All-Star break and is easily one of Nike’s most memorable. It’s also the inspiration for “CourtVision,” a remake for lifestyle streetwear brand Undefeated’s virtual reality experience that was launched in conjunction with their new NikeLab Dunk Lux shoe collaboration.

Produced by IM360, a Digital Domain company, Undefeated’s two-minute VR film features “the world’s greatest ballhandler” Pat The Roc showing off his skills to the tunes of beatmaker Nosaj Thing in an immersive environment providing viewers a 360-degree experience. A special pop-up store in Los Angeles where visitors experienced “CourtVision” on VR headsets was also introduced to complement the activation.

[a]listdaily caught up with three of the creative forces for “CourtVision”—Ilias Panayiotou, brand director at Undefeated, Chris Fieldhouse, executive producer for IM360, and Rich Flier, managing director of Digital Domain Holdings Limited—to discuss the remake. (Click here for full version.)

Why was the original 2001 Nike “Freestyle” commercial the inspiration for the remake with Pat The Roc?

Panayiotou: The original Nike “Freestyle” commercial was a huge and impactful piece of visual art that has stuck with me since I first saw it. Everything from the players and their moves to the soundtrack by Pharrell, it was a great moment in pop culture. With this project it seemed like the perfect time to create an homage to that piece of visual history, especially since I feel a lot of the younger kids these days don’t even know about it.

How does experiential marketing help Undefeated sell the NikeLab Dunk Lux shoes? 

Panayiotou: Creating an experiential space and immersive VR experience allowed us to create a controlled environment that gave context to the NikeLab Dunk Lux and the thought process behind it. It brought our consumer into our world to experience something more than just buying a product. It helped put them in our head space, and they hopefully experienced something they have never seen before.

Undefeated-NIke-IM360-NikeLab Dunk Lux

How did attendees engage with the immersive experience at the Undefeated “CourtVision” pop-up shop? 

Panayiotou: People coming through the pop-up shop were blown away by the VR experience that IM360 and Undefeated created. Some people were so immersed they tried to reach for the ball.

Fieldhouse: Customers engaged with the experience through the custom Samsung Gear VR app that IM360 developed for Undefeated. They had multiple kiosks set up in-store where customers and celebrities alike could experience the film in a head set; binaural audio added to the fully immersive experience. We also handed out branded Undefeated and IM360 cardboard viewers that consumers could take with them to view on their mobile phone after the event. Everyone felt that it was a very immersive experience to the point where they were interacting with Pat The Roc: trying to block him and dribble past him, but running into walls because they were in the pop-up store.

How do VR activations impact the fashion and streetwear industries?

Panayiotou: VR activations give brands the ability to transport their customer to another world without leaving their comfort zone and truly immerse them in a curated environment.

Why should 360-degree video and VR content creation be important to brands?

Panayiotou: It helps give them a context and meaning to what we are doing so that it is no longer just about the physical item itself.


Flier: In our experience at Digital Domain and its subsidiaries, brands are often the first to adopt new technologies and build innovative creative experiences. They pave the road with regard to cutting-edge technology and experiences for others to follow. They want to be the first to do something in order to inspire their existing audience and attract new consumers. With new technologies such as 360-degree video and VR, brands have a whole new way to communicate to their audience. They can place the consumer courtside at an NBA game, or on top of Mount Everest, or even on the surface of Mars. A whole new realm of possibilities is now at their fingertips. While there is no clear monetization strategy for these new technologies, the brands know that the universe is more than excited about VR and 360 video, and they have faith that their ROI will come.

Follow Manouk Akopyan on Twitter @Manouk_Akopyan.

Undefeated x IM360: CourtVision Virtual Reality Experience BTS from Undefeated on Vimeo.

Ikea’s Virtual Reality Experience Heightened By Meatballs

There are a few reasons why people love going to Ikea. Affordable furniture, knick-knacks that they didn’t even know they needed, and of course, those delectable meatballs served up in the cafeteria. Now, fans can appreciate the dish in virtual reality.

Earlier this month, the company announced the debut of a Virtual Reality Kitchen Experience for the HTC Vive headset. With it, consumers can try out various activities in their own virtual kitchen while making a few meatballs in real-time.

“Virtual reality is developing quickly and in five-to-ten years it will be an integrated part of people’s lives,” said Jesper Brodin, managing director at Ikea of Sweden and Range and Supply Manager for Ikea Group. “We see that virtual reality will play a major role in the future of our customers. For instance, someday, it could be used to enable customers to try out a variety of home furnishing solutions before buying them.”

The company escalated its meatball game in VR by introducing a mini-game where consumers could wolf down as many as they could get their hands on, which went on to be a big hit. The video below provides a better idea of what this experience is like.

Feedback has been strong with the app and mini-game. One Redditor stated, “The reviews for the game make me want to visit the fantastical wonderland that is Ikea more than the actual game does.” Meanwhile, another proclaimed, “I’ve been looking for the ultimate Ikea meatball experience and it’s finally here.”

But users can do more with the app than just eat up meatballs and test kitchen options, according to Martin Enthed, IT Manager for Ikea Communications. “We also see Ikea VR Experience as an opportunity to co-create with people all around the world. We hope that users will contribute to our virtual reality development, by submitting ideas on how to use virtual reality and how to improve the virtual kitchen.”

So far, it’s a big community hit, so expect more implementation of virtual reality ideas from the company, along with many more meatballs.

ESL’s Nik Adams Discusses Building A 24/7 ESports Network

ESL is ready to launch a 24/7 eSports channel next month called eSports TV, which will cover a variety of video game events and tournaments. Beginning with a roll-out in the Nordic and Baltic countries before heading West, it will no doubt be a major outlet for fans who can’t get enough of eSports-related events.

To get more insight in terms of what we can expect from eSports TV, [a]listdaily chatted with Nik Adams, senior vice president of sales for ESL, discussing topics from social media interaction to its eventual launch into other regions.

Nik-Adams-FormalWhat led to the decision of introducing a 24-hour eSports channel?

For ESL, the eSports channel is another distribution channel of our existing content. We’ve produced about 20,000 hours of original content in 2016, so there definitely is enough material to fill the channel. Our challenge is to curate it so it is appealing for the new audiences on TV, whilst our main goal is to create completely fresh and original content with the entry barrier low enough for those who just start getting into this amazing new sport.

What will be the basis of eSports TV? Will we see original programming and shows to go along with the competition coverage?

The base content will be the broadcasts of our core events and tournaments, as this is our main business that delivers the most interesting output. Our competitions and offline events in the ESL One, Intel Extreme Masters, and ESL Pro League circuits will take a big chunk of space. From there—and around these core products—we will start building original content. Longtime fans of eSports will be happy to know that eSports TV will also have a section with classic content from the past 15 years—ESL’s archive of premium eSports materials is huge and it’s waiting to be put to a good use.

As eSports TV develops and grows, what would you say is the biggest hurdle in getting the right partners on board?

The feedback from the market was incredible so far—even better than we expected, and we’re getting signals from regions that are very keen on getting ESL’s premium eSports content. It makes it that much easier when you consider that ESL is a global company with offices in all important regions: North America and all important European markets, but also places like Brazil, Australia, Singapore, China, Russia and India.  The plan is to (together with MTG) gradually roll out the channel into new territories. MTG brings decades of TV experience to the table, which makes them the perfect partner for us, but ESL also runs its own licensing department and we are very well connected in the space.

Is social media interaction with the channel being considered? 

This is something we’re very enthusiastic about, and we’re working on several ideas that will enable an easy, more natural viewer interaction. Things like second screen applications, for example, could be put into a great use at eSports TV. ESL is a company that’s constantly looking for new ways to connect with its core audience, so things like that are definitely on our radar. Right now, it’s all work in progress so I can not share too much about it just yet.

Will programming from livestreaming events online eventually make their way to the channel?

Livestreaming content will make its way to be a part of eSports TV for sure, and there are a million ways in which the content from our events can be utilized for something more original we’re planning to build around our core products. We’re definitely very excited to try them all out and continue to deliver the world’s top eSports content around-the-clock, online and on TV. But the most exciting thing about eSports TV is that it’s a channel that will enable us to show our content to a completely new audience—not the one that already follows us online, but one that perhaps hasn’t cut the cord yet, or simply has a preference for more linear forms of broadcast. We’re already reaching over 100 million of eSports fans, but the ones we’re going to connect with through eSports TV will be largely new to us and our offering. This provides a massive amount of opportunities for us to create and distribute content that’s completely new, exiting and appealing to that new segment of audience.

Unity: Mobile Game Trends Dominated By Android And China

Unity Technologies has released its Games by the Numbers report, revealing mobile game trends from January to March 2016. During this time, 219,693 games made with the Unity engine generated over 4.2 billion installs, reaching about 1.7 billion unique devices. On average, this number of installs represents about 18.2 million new devices and 45.8 million installs each day.

Game Installs By Country

With a 30 percent increase in game downloads over Q4 2015, the mobile video game market is off to a strong start this year. Of the 4.2 billion game installs across 1.7 billion unique devices globally, China represented a staggering 31 percent, followed by the United States at 11 percent. Despite lifting the ban on video game consoles, China’s mobile game market continues to soar—particularly within the midcore demographic.

mobile game trends map

Android Vs. iOS

Representing 81 percent of mobile game installs worldwide, Android remains the preferred platform for mobile game trends, especially on Samsung brand devices. Although Samsung is most popular in the United States and Europe, the Chinese game market is dominated by local brands like Xiaomi.

When the top ten countries with game installs on Android and iOS are examined, China tops the chart once again in both categories. Chinese gamers prefer iOS over the Android platform, but only by 1.3 percent. Gamers in the United States prefer iOS by a considerably wider margin (10.8 percent), particularly on iPhone 5s and the iPhone 6. For those who play games on an iPad, statistics show that older models, particularly the iPad mini, are the most popular for downloads. In comparison to Android devices, iOS users upgrade to the latest version quickly. As a result, 7 percent of game installs on iOS occurred on devices running version 9.0 (released September 2015) or later.

ios vs android

The Future Of Mobile Game Trends

If Unity’s findings are any indication, the mobile game demographic continues to grow at a healthy pace—particularly in the Chinese market. Game engines like Unity and Unreal have become more accessible in recent years, allowing more independent video game developers to enter the market. Unity hopes that quarterly reports like Games by the Numbers will help these developers make sound decisions when it comes to their marketing efforts.

“It’s exciting to see the mobile games market continue to grow and thrive around the world, which translates into great opportunities for developers to bring their visions to life,” said John Cheng, general manager of Unity Analytics. “Unity has always focused on democratizing game development, solving hard problems, and helping developers succeed. To that end, we believe the in-depth information Unity Analytics provides, some of which is in this report, will help mobile developers prioritize and give them an edge as they make tough marketing and product decisions.”

VR ESports: The Combination Can Conquer

VR eSports? Now that VR (virtual reality) headsets are making their way into the hands of consumers, the important question becomes VR software. What will people chose to do with VR? The answer may be in one of the hottest areas of gaming—eSports.

The numbers for eSports are compelling, as Newzoo shows the market for eSports jumping to $463 million in revenues for 2016, growing 43 percent from last year. The audience is huge and growing, with Newzoo seeing 131 million eSports enthusiasts and another 125 million occasional viewers who tune in mainly for the big international events. Newzoo projects eSports to hit $1.1 billion in revenues by 2019, an enviable growth rate that VR would like to share.

There’s plenty of excitement in the industry about the connection between VR and eSports, as well as sports in general.

“At Newzoo we believe the biggest commercial potential for VR is on the spectator side,” said Newzoo CEO Peter Warman, speaking with [a]listdaily. “Watching an NBA game live from Jack Nicholson’s seat or walking around on the battlefield itself during a DotA2 or CS:GO final are two examples. In that respect eSports brings to VR what sports does. That appeals to a larger group of people than playing VR games itself. is a start up purely focused on in-game spectator VR. Very exciting stuff. There is at least an equal amount of people that would like to watch others play as play themselves.”

“It’s important to distinguish between the eSports gameplay and the eSports viewing experience,” Patrick Walker, the vice-president of insights and analytics at EEDAR, told “One of the many use cases predicted for VR is the ability to attend live sports games remotely. In a similar way, there’s a lot of opportunity for VR to create a new type of viewing experience even using the currently successful eSports game genres. In addition, it’s very hard to predict what types of experience will emerge on new hardware after developers learn what works best. The mobile phone games of the mature 2016 market are very different from the available games in 2008. Therefore, I think there’s also a lot of opportunity for new eSports to emerge that are built from the ground up with VR gameplay in mind.”

That immediate potential for VR experience of sporting events (whether eSports or traditional sports) should be easy to realize, but the more complex issue would be creating VR experiences that are eSports in themselves. Does VR lend itself to the creation of an eSport? Are there benefits for eSports fans? Could eSports actually be a driver for VR adoption, considering the dedication of eSports fans?

“Yes, VR definitely offers potential for eSports,” said Joost van Dreunen, CEO of SuperData. “The audience for competitive gaming skews toward tech-savvy, enthusiastic gamers; the kind that will pay a premium for an enhanced experience. And already do we see Valve experiment with the way it displays DotA2 tournaments, providing a bird’s eye overview that is (more-or-less) interactive. Obviously it is early days, but the cross-pollination between eSports and VR is powerful.”

Chet Faliszek, writer and virtual reality evangelist at Valve, spoke with Fortune about a future for eSports through HTC Vive. “While we have The International and events where people are watching people play games, it is fun to watch someone play a VR game because they’re physically moving around in this space and making these motions that people can understand what’s happening,” Faliszek said. “It lets a broader group of people watch. It’s great spectator sport.”

That sounds promising, but Faliszek believes the prospects for the future are even greater. “VR eSports is first going to be about spectating,” Faliszek said. “VR changes the game so radically. You’d need to make a game built from the ground up, and we’ll see games made for eSports.”

Perhaps from Valve? That would seem to be right in line with the company’s interests.

RIGS Screen

Meanwhile, Sony has made it clear that eSports and VR are going to be an important combination for the upcoming PlayStation VR headset, which Sony is launching this October. Sony has been demonstrating RIGS, a fast-paced combat game where giant mechanical suits do battle in virtual arenas.

“A contender like Sony is also making in-roads by cultivating titles for its PSVR that build on the current vocabulary of competitive gaming,” van Dreunen noted. “A title like RIGS is an obvious example. However, while eSports may play a part in the adoption of VR, it is a convincing enough platform in its own right to reach mainstream acceptance.”

Marketers are likely to support VR eSports as a cutting-edge way to add an impressive sheen to brands. We’ve already seen great marketing interest in both VR and eSports, so combining the two should surely draw brand marketers like flies to high-tech honey. Major publishers looking to make a mark in eSports seem eager to oblige with VR eSports, as an interesting angle that can help launch a new eSport.

Watch for existing eSports to being to take advantage of VR in upcoming competitions. Providing a VR experience in addition to the excitement already surrounding a major eSports event would definitely get a lot of eSports fans looking into VR equipment. With mobile VR being relatively inexpensive, many fans could be experiencing eSports in a new way in the near future.

More elaborate VR presentations of existing eSports would require some serious work on the part of developers, but the results could be very compelling. Imagine being able to watch a League of Legends battle in VR, with complete control over your viewpoint as you move through the battlefield seeing the action from any angle you desire. Or a Call of Duty or Halo with VR spectator capability—not to mention Star Wars: Battlefront, which is already getting a special PlayStation VR experience this fall.

Yes, there’s plenty for fans and marketers alike to look forward to as eSports becomes part of the range of VR experiences, and perhaps even one of the key drivers for hardware sales. Watch this (virtual) space closely for the next breakout hit!

5 Video Game Movies That Will Rock 2016

Although there has often been a certain stigma attached to movies based on video games, they seem to be coming into their own this year. From the launch of a Ratchet & Clank movie to Assassin’s Creed sneaking its way to the big screen, the partnership between video games and movies is really starting to grow. Here are some of the big films to look forward to, and how they’re getting fans out to theaters.

Ratchet & Clank 

Release Date: April 29, 2016

In a dizzying circle of events, the new Ratchet & Clank video game is based on the movie, which is based on the original 2002 video game. As it turns out, the game is being very well-received by players, which makes it the perfect promotion to convince audiences to head out and watch the movie when it hits theaters tomorrow. The story recounts how a mechanic named Ratchet met his robotic best friend, Clank, as they head out into the galaxy for adventure.

But the film isn’t completely relying on the game’s broad fanbase for success. It’s sharing some of the quirky humor with a little web game called the Sheepinator, where you use a wacky weapon to change floating enemies in space, who are quoting mean tweets, into baa-ing sheep. This is then transformed into an animated gif, which can be shared on social media.

The Angry Birds Movie 

Release Date: May 20, 2016

The hit puzzle mobile game, where players launch a variety of upset birds to wreck pig-created constructs, has extended its brand to cover everything from a cartoon show to a cereal. Therefore, given how the franchise has millions of fans worldwide, an Angry Birds movie seemed inevitable. Although Angry Birds 2 released last summer, it had no apparent tie-ins with the upcoming movie, which stars the voices of Jason Sudeikis (Saturday Night Live; Horrible Bosses) Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones) and Bill Hader (Inside Out; Superbad). That means Sony Pictures Entertainment had to be more creative in getting audiences acquainted with the characters.

The movie’s main character, Red, had a float featured at last year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, and a specially-themed Lego set is set to launch around the same time as the movie. Furthermore, in an apparent partnership with AMC Theaters, a short video was released to promote the benefits of watching movies in theaters instead of waiting for them to release on home video. This was later followed by a very cute Easter video.

However, the best reason to watch the movie in theaters is because of a pinball-inspired 3D game called Angry Birds Action! The game lets players control Red as he “smashes and crashes through obstacles and bounces from wall to wall like a wrecking ball—all in the name, of course, of saving precious and fragile eggs.” An extra level for the game can be unlocked by using the game to scan for an inaudible digital watermark that’s embedded in the movie’s closing credits.

Dead Rising: Endgame 

Release Date: Sometime In Summer 2016

Dead Rising: Endgame is the official sequel to the live-action zombie comedy Dead Rising: Watchtower. Like its predecessor, the gore-filled film based on the hit video game franchise will debut exclusively on Sony’s Crackle streaming service. Although there hasn’t been much revealed about the movie since its announcement last spring at Upfront, the full cast was revealed last February. Jesse Metcalfe (Dallas) and Keegan Connor Tracy (Final Destination 2; 40 Days and 40 Nights) will reprise their roles as Chase and Jordan respectively, and they are joined by Billy Zane (Titanic; Back the Future), Marie Avgeropoulos (The 100; 50/50), and Patrick Sabongui (300; Godzilla; TRON: Legacy). The plot follows Chase and his companions as they make their way through a zombie-infested quarantine zone to stop a secret government conspiracy.

Promotion for the first movie relied heavily on word-of-mouth, coupled with whatever enthusiasm was created by the game Dead Rising 3 (which launched for PC a few months before Watchtower‘s premiere). While that might have been enough to generate a significant amount of interest last year, a new Dead Rising game isn’t expected to come out for quite some time. So, it will be interesting to see if the same strategy will be used to promote the sequel, and whether or not (and to what extent) Sony will use the PlayStation 4 to get the word out about Crackle’s original content.


Release Date: June 10, 2016

Few game franchises are as well-known as Warcraft, particularly because of the immensely popular World of Warcraft and its spin-off collectible card game Hearthstone. Now the war between humans and orcs in the fantasy world of Azeroth will finally hit the big screen.

The movie’s first trailer debuted at BlizzCon last year, which is coincidentally the same day Activision Blizzard Studios was announced, however, this movie is being made by Legendary Entertainment. The movie released a very impressive 360-degree video last year, which let viewers ride high on a griffin, and a new (regular) movie trailer released last week.

Blizzard also seems to be testing how movie interest could lead to better World of Warcraft subscriber numbers, since it issued a survey in February that asked people if they’d be interested in a “World of Warcraft Ultimate Movie Edition,” that comes with all of the game’s expansions that would be included with the purchase of a movie ticket. Although that promotion hasn’t been put into effect, it certainly would be a big one, considering how the next expansion Legion won’t release until the end of August—over two months after the movie comes out. On the other hand, the newest Hearthstone expansion, Whispers of the Old Gods has helped the game top over 50 million players, so the Warcraft lore is getting out there in one way or another.

Assassin’s Creed 

Release Date: Dec. 21, 2016

Although last winter’s Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate was praised by both fans and critics, nothing quite revitalizes a long-standing video game franchise like a new movie starring Michael Fassbender (Prometheus; X-Men: Days of Future Past). However, with the movie’s premiere set for December, there hasn’t been a ton of promotion for it yet, apart from a number of action screens. There isn’t even an official trailer yet, and although the website dedicated to the fictional company, Abstergo (which is at war with the Assassins) seems promising, it isn’t fully functional yet.

Other upcoming promotions include a VR experience that is currently being developed by Practical Magic in partnership with Ubisoft, but no details have been revealed about it yet. So, fans will just have to wait and see how the Assassin’s Creed movie promotion grows and develops as the year progresses.

Although 2016 is looking to be a great year for video game movies, it could be just the start. Next year promises to bring the final Resident Evil movie, along with a new Tomb Raider film that has already cast Daisy Ridley from Star Wars: The Force Awakens in the lead role of Lara Croft. Then there’s an Uncharted movie and a possible film based on the Call of Duty franchise. Movies and video games can look forward to a long relationship.

Newzoo Looks At Worldwide VR And ESports Interest

Virtual reality is taking some time to catch on to the market—but a new report from Newzoo suggests there’s still a great amount of interest in it.

The report indicates that, across both North America and Europe, 11 percent of the online population between the ages of 10 and 65 are planning to buy some sort of virtual reality product over the next six months. On the flip side, however, half of Western consumers don’t have any interest in the product just yet, while 8 percent aren’t even aware of its existence. Meanwhile, 32 percent of those polled haven’t yet come to a decision.

Screen Shot 2016-04-28 at 1.57.33 PM

As far as the country that shows the highest interest in VR technology, Spain leads the charge with 16 percent, while, in terms of budget, a good portion of Canada’s audience stated they would be interested in buying such products.

ESports was also a big focus of the report, as Newzoo indicated that 63 percent of those who bought virtual reality tech are also into that level of competition—which makes it interesting that no VR manufacturers have jumped on board for a sponsorship just yet. The report also noted that over half of eSports enthusiasts and 24 percent of viewers that tune in on occasion have plans to buy VR-related goods somewhere down the road.

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Peter Warman, CEO for Newzoo, said: “We have been relatively silent when it comes to VR. This has to do with our expectation that the lion’s share of VR revenues will be generated by hardware sales, spectator content, and live viewing formats. Game software revenues from VR will remain marginal for the near future and be absorbed into current PC, TV/console and mobile game revenues. We will leave guestimates on the future size of the total VR market in revenues to the experts in hardware and (online) retail sales. We are specialists in game revenues and gamer behavior. Hence our effort is to research and report on VR from a consumer perspective because ultimately, in the long term, VR and AR will change how consumers communicate and interact with content.”

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Going back to budgets among virtual reality buyers, Canada has a large portion of consumers interested mainly in HTC Vive (28 percent), followed by the Oculus Rift (25 percent) and the Samsung Gear VR (20 percent). Meanwhile, audiences in Spain prefer the Homido VR (34 percent) as a top choice, followed by the Rift (25 percent).

The report provides plenty of information, and could certainly be news of interest to those who manufacture and market virtual reality gear. For that matter, eSports would definitely be worth looking into, especially considering the high interest amongst players and fans alike.

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The Marketing Genius Of Beyoncé’s ‘Lemonade’; Why 360 Is The Future

Unless you’ve been living in a cave, you’ve heard about Beyoncé’s Lemonade—a stunning visual album that touches socio-political topics both head-on and via heavy use of symbolism. Even though the album was teased only a day before the release with a mysterious and brief video, it has already become a memorable blip on the pop culture timeline, namely because it stoked rumors of infidelity around music’s most powerful couple. Controversy or not, the album’s release is yet another stroke of marketing genius for Beyoncé and our first story this week on [a]listdaily Weekly.

Also this week, [a]list summit brought together marketers from all corners to discuss the evolving nature of Frontline Marketing. Virtual and augmented reality, livestreaming and eSports were key topics at the Seattle event. The event included a memorable keynote from Facebook and Instagram’s head of industry, Paul Peterman. Coming off the company’s F8 conference, Peterman went into greater detail about the marketing application of Facebook Messenger and why Facebook is the frontline of mobile video.

Paula Batson, VP of PR and communication at livestreaming platform YouNow, discussed why livestreaming is resonating with millennials and Gen Z, due to the interactive elements and immediacy of the medium. Although you may be more familiar with Facebook Live and Twitch, YouNow sees over 100 million user sessions each month and 50,000 hours of new content livestreamed each day. Beyond that, YouNow is one of the first livestreaming platforms to help its creators directly monetize from their audience.

With video being a central interest for marketers, it follows that livestreaming is going to become a huge part of that as we segue from this period of exploration to a better fundamental understanding of how to best leverage live content. You can watch both YouNow and Facebook’s [a]list summit sessions and many more in full on our YouTube channel.

Have a topic to suggest? Hit us up on Twitter @alistdaily.