Bethesda Shares ‘Fallout 76’ Lore With Retro-Inspired Audio Series

Bethesda released a series of monster-themed audio dramas on Wednesday that immerses players into the world of Fallout 76. Creatures that hail from West Virginia lore are included, of course, like the Mothman and Flatwoods Monster.

“Tales from the West Virginia Hills” is presented in the style of a 1950s radio serial. Each of the five episodes tells the story of dangerous encounters with monsters in the area, as told by a dramatic narrator. The stories are even “sponsored” by fictional brands from Fallout lore such as “Sugar Bombs—the breakfast cereal with explosive great taste and 100 percent of the recommended daily allowance of sugar!”

Five episodes were released on Halloween, using the game’s monsters as a way to engage players already in the mood for a fright. According to Bethesda, all of these monsters can be found in Fallout 76, but “Tales from the West Virginia Hills” was created as a stand-alone bonus for fans.

“The world of Fallout 76 is steeped in mystery,” said Bethesda, “but when you’re not trying to discover what happened to everyone after the bombs dropped, you might find yourself asking a different question: ‘What’s that figure, lurking in the dark?’ The answer probably isn’t as friendly as you might like. The ‘Tales from the West Virginia Hills’ holotape series is here to give you an idea of what to look out for if you hope to survive.”

For the uninitiated, holotapes aka holodisks are small cartridges found throughout the Fallout video game franchise. These collectible items reveal information about the game world or even interactive games. Tales from the West Virginia Hills is therefore presented as something you might find while exploring the post-apocalyptic world of Fallout 76.

The six episodes include Curse of the Wendigo, Sideshow Snallygaster, The Mothman Cometh!, The Beast of Grafton and The Strange Encounter in Flatwoods.

Anticipation for Fallout 76 has steadily mounted since its announcement in May. Fans were so excited that one tweet from Bethesda garnered $210,000 in earned media.

Other marketing for the game has included a team-up with the West Virginia Department of Tourism to encourage pre-nuclear war exploration. In addition to seeing locations that were recreated inside Fallout 76, fans can travel around the state in search of Vault Boy—the Fallout mascot—and take a picture with him on social media to win prizes.

PlayStation Discusses PS4 Pro ‘Details’ Campaign, Authenticity Strategy

PlayStation recently launched a new campaign called “Details” that uses humor to draw attention to 4K graphics on the PS4 Pro. As with previous ads for the console, PlayStation wanted to elicit an emotional response and target a very specific gaming demographic.

“Details” consists of three spots, each tied into PlayStation’s ongoing “Greatness Awaits” campaign. In each live-action scenario, characters stop what they’re doing to appreciate details in the world around them.

The newest spot, “Vampire Hunter,” is a humorous take on battling monsters. In the middle of a fierce life and death battle, one vampire interrupts his own attack to admire his victim’s watch. His blood-sucking colleague is not amused.

For PlayStation VP of marketing Mary Yee and her team, this campaign was a challenge to resonate with gamers on a personal level but in a humorous way—almost like an inside joke.

“We’ve heard from gamers that they get so excited about the blades of grass they see or the reflection of the background in someone’s eyeball,” Yee told AList. “We brought that insight into [‘Details’].”

In the first “Details” spot entitled “Armor,” two knights are waging battle when one of them strikes up a conversation about the detailed armor his opponent is wearing. The third and final spot, “Foxhole,” will show a group of soldiers who get distracted by the beauty of their commanding officer’s eyes.

Yee explained that when she and her team are developing a campaign, they always try to identify the “gamer truth.” In other words, they identify something very particular that gamers can relate to—in this case, it was the appreciation for tiny details in a game.

“When we find [the gamer truth] and it’s right, it always feel authentic and simple. We find that that’s the most motivating for the team,” said Yee. “I work with a team of really passionate marketers and gamers so when they see it and it’s a truth that they love, they will also go into the details to make sure everything looks right in the commercial. They’re doing it for the fans and they’re doing it for themselves, too.”

Entry-level gamers aren’t discouraged from purchasing a PS4 Pro by any means, but they aren’t the target demographic for “Details.” Instead, PlayStation wanted to appeal to existing gamers that immerse themselves into video game worlds.

“The challenge with [PS4] Pro is that we have to really think about what this [target] gamer wants,” explained Yee. “[The Pro demographic] is someone that is already very engaged and [we have to figure out] what they care about in order for us to demonstrate what the power of the Pro does and get them to buy. Then, we think about the content. What’s the content that really showcases [what the gamer cares about] and how do we wrap that into the campaign?”

“Details” showcases gameplay from three upcoming PlayStation exclusive games: Marvel’s Spider-Man, Days Gone and Ghost of Tsushima. The overall tone of the campaign was designed to match PlayStation’s “Opera” series of spots released last year for PS4Pro.

“When an ad is funny, we know that this target can relate to it, so it’s authentic to them,” said Yee. “It’s also authentic to the brand. We hope it elicits excitement about the games they can play and [inspire a Pro purchase].”

Editor’s Note: This article was updated to include additional details for the “Vampire Hunter” spot.

Collaboration Propels Land Rover’s Recent Marketing Campaigns

Jaguar Land Rover has entered into a number of unique partnerships recently, showing the brand’s interest in collaboration, and ranging from a James Bond experiential event in Austria to a line of menswear and finally a Hans Zimmer-scored short film.

In April the car brand announced partnership with 007 Elements, an immersive event taking visitors into the world of James Bond at a Alpine mountaintop location. Visitors were also shown Jaguar cars from many of the Bond films and the newest Jaguar Land Rover technology.

More recently, Land Rover entered into a five-year partnership with Clarks to offer “terrain appropriate” shoes, marking the first time that Land Rover has partnered with a shoe or clothing line.

Dubbed “Life. Limitless,” the Clarks/Land Rover collaboration includes three designs to start—CLR.51N for city wear, CLR53.N for rugged terrains and the CLR52.N, designed for versatility across a variety of landscapes. Ten shoe collections will be released in total, debuted as Spring and Fall Collections over the next five years.

While the museum highlights Jaguar Land Rover’s film heritage and shoes reflects the brand’s image of ruggedness, another recent campaign taps into the idea of creating emotional memories while driving the car itself.

To evoke the feeling of inspiration and adventure, Land Rover sent film composer Hans Zimmer on a drive through the California mountains and had him score the experience.

“Scoring the Drive” highlights the full-sized 2019 Land Rover in a series of spots, Zimmer—who has scored films like Gladiator, Pirates of the Caribbean and Inception—talks about how he gets inspiration for his music. He drives along the Angeles Crest Highway, a scenic mountain road in Southern California, taking photos and video footage as he goes.

“Everything I do, I always have music in my head,” says Zimmer in a voiceover. “So, I score everything—the curves, the landscape, the smell . . . I order my world into some sense of harmony.”

Viewers are then transported to Zimmer’s studio, where he writes music to accompany his driving experience. The ad’s music swells into a crescendo of strings, piano and percussion akin to the epic soundtrack of a feature film. Zimmer’s score is intercut with images of the scenic drive, along with not-so-coincidental shots between the composer’s fine-tuned equipment and the Land Rover’s interior controls.

“Music should signal to you that you are allowed to have emotion,” says Zimmer, a statement that perfectly sums up the message behind Land Rover’s campaign.

Unilad, LADbible’s Popularity Defy Facebook Push For Hard-Hitting News

Unilad and LADbible are the most popular English-language publishers on Facebook, proving that users still prefer shareable, light-hearted or sensational content on the platform over hard-hitting news.

According to data from NewsWhip, the top publishers on Facebook aren’t traditional news outlets but rather British, male-focused entertainment sites. Content that promotes discussion and emotional engagement performs best on Facebook, the data shows, capitalizing on gossip and heartwarming stories.

Facebook has tried extremely hard to rebrand itself as an outlet for respectable news, investing in “trustworthy” sources for both the News Feed and its video platform, Watch. For brands facing an uphill battle against the social media giant’s ever-changing algorithm, there are lessons to be learned from which publications garner the most engagement.

One need only look at the most popular articles for the month of September to get an idea of content that Facebook users share most. LADbible’s piece about a woman whose nail chewing led to an amputation garnered the highest CMT at 75.3 percent. Other top-performing pieces were centered around video games, food, sex and controversy.

Unilad was the top publisher for the month of September with 32.5 million engagements that include likes, shares and comments. LADbible, which recently purchased Unilad, followed in second place with over 28.9 million engagements. Gossip outlets TMZ and Daily Mail also made the top 25 with news about celebrity deaths.

Traditional news outlets may have figured out this “one trick,” to quote oh so many click-bait articles on Facebook. The most engaging content from The New York Times in September, for example, were focused around the Kavanaugh scandals, Nike’s endorsement of Colin Kaepernick and an opinion piece about resistance inside the Trump Administration. The Times was one of many traditional news outlets that ran a disproportionate amount of “cautionary” pieces, NewsWhip observed, such as a story about predators using Fortnite to lure kids.

Overall, traditional news outlets are increasing their presence and engagement on Facebook, with or without sensational content. With Fox News and CNN in the lead, New York Times, BBC News and Daily Mail are catching up and holding their own.

In January, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg pledged to make time spent on his platform more “worthwhile” by favoring high-quality news in the feed. If the data shows anything, however, it is that users are far more interested in debates and uplifting content than the latest news.

Amazon Prime Ads Turn Binge-Watching Into Self-Improvement

Amazon Prime UK has released a series of new ads called “Great Shows Stay With You,” each depicting a scenario in which binge-watching inspired positive change in a viewer.

Each of the four video spots highlights a particular show, beginning with Jack Ryan, which inspires a father to become the best man he can be—working out, gaining fast reflexes and finishing projects around the house.

Lucifer inspires a closed-off young man into exploring his darker, more charismatic side, while Outlander rekindles the romance for a married couple going through the motions. For one timid woman, binge-watching Vikings gives her the strength to stand up for herself in the workplace, going so far as to begin yelling like a warrior when someone uses her coffee mug. Each viewer reaches their potential by the season finale.

Interestingly, the campaign focuses not only on Amazon Original content but programs that originated on other networks such as History (Vikings), FOX (Lucifer) and STARZ (Outlander).

During a time when cord-cutting continues to rise, original and exclusive content have become key to attracting new subscribers. OTT services like Amazon are churning out awards contenders to attract new subscribers and Netflix has considered owning its own movie theater.

“Consumers increasingly choose services on the strength of the programming they offer, and the platforms are stepping up with billions in spending on premium shows,” eMarketer senior forecasting analyst Christopher Bendtsen said in a recent report.

Amazon may have to step up its game if it wants to rely on awards, however. The company took home eight Emmys last month for shows like The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, compared to Netlix and HBO, each taking home 23.

Even with fewer awards and a recent price hike, Amazon Prime offers something its competitors don’t—additional perks like streaming music, free shipping, grocery delivery and exclusives on Twitch, which appear to serve the company just fine. Amazon added more Prime members in 2017 than in any previous year and in a letter to shareholders, CEO Jeff Bezos said that 100 million people pay for the service as of April. For the second quarter of 2018, Amazon experienced 57 percent growth YoY for subscription services, including Prime.

OTT Viewers Support, Often Prefer Ad-Supported Video, IAB Finds

New data from IAB shows that ad-supported video over-the-top (ASV OTT) viewers in the US tend to be younger, male and earn a higher income. Cost savings is a major driver for cord-cutting or shaving off existing services, the study found, and reaching this audience through traditional channels may prove difficult.

IAB conducted a joint study with MARU/Matchbox that examines consumer behavior in the US as it relates to watching ad-supported streaming content. Around 250,000 US consumers over the age of 18 were surveyed between August and September of this year.

Ad Receptivity and the Ad-Supported OTT Video Viewer” found that a majority (73 percent) of video-streaming respondents watch ad-supported OTT video and 45 percent said most of those videos are ad-supported. This group was found to be more receptive to advertising, saying that ads on ASV OTT services are better than TV commercials—more engaging, relevant and unique.

More than half of ASV OTT viewers said that they pay more attention to ads when they see fewer of them, and nearly half said they remember the ad even if it was skipped. Just over half—57 percent—said they like when brands support the content they watch, compared to 39 percent of SVOD viewers.

Of those who watched AVS OTT the most, 60 percent were male and 44 percent were between the ages of 18-34. About half of this demographic was married with children and 34 percent earned more than $75,000 per year.

Higher income doesn’t mean they want to spend all that money on cable, however. Just over half of ASV OTT viewers have cut back or eliminated cable, satellite and/or telco services, with “cost” being the top reason across the board. After saving money, the top reasons were convenience and flexibility at 42 percent, while 38 percent claimed better content on their streaming services.

IAB found the majority of regular ASV OTT viewers to watch less cable than SVOD viewers—10.4 hours per week compared to 11.6. Also, these users are watching more on OTT than they were a year ago. ASV OTT viewers are also more likely to follow social media influencers and spend more on subscription services like meal kits.

Sundance Institute CMO Monica Halpert: “People Are The New Brand”

There has been a noticeable shift in the relationship between audiences and marketers in recent years and brands have had to reassess their top-down approach. Resonating with young, savvy consumers requires a healthy dose of authentic storytelling—luckily for Sundance Institute CMO Monica Halpert, that’s what she helps artists do every day.

Please explain your job in the context of Sundance Institute.

I’m the chief marketing officer I sit on the leadership team which is comprised of the key stakeholders in the work that we do. I oversee all of marketing, communications, branding, [as well as] the cultural articulation of both the internal and external voice of the institute.

Sundance has a lot of enterprises, but we are the non-profit institution whose commitment is to support independent storytellers and artists in all stages of their career through a variety of year-round programming including the Sundance Film Festival.

As the head of marketing and communications, I’m the storyteller about the storytellers.

How has the nature of your work changed in the last five years?

Audiences have changed, where they are has changed. Our industry has changed in terms of content. I believe we’re in this golden age of television and there’s good stuff everywhere but it’s so ubiquitous that it’s kind of hard to find. I think it’s very tricky as a marketer now.

I have said for the last three years that brands are dead. I don’t even like the word “brand” now. The audience—the people—are brands now. It’s a very different kind of relationship that marketers need to have with audiences. We as marketers are audiences and audiences are marketers.

Another big shift is how we work. Marketers aren’t just specialists. I’m a marketer but I know how to run a business. It’s no longer about silos… to me, it’s a completely different world. You have to kind of fly the plane as you build it.

What Is Your View On The Prevalence Of Cause Marketing?

There have definitely been corporate responsibility and cause-related marketing efforts within the organizations that I’ve worked for, but this is my first foray into a decidedly non-profit world. I have to say, I can’t really imagine doing it any other way going forward. The fusion of entertainment and mission work feels like the most contemporary and modern way to work.

I’ve sat in many meetings [at previous companies] where it’s been like, “okay, what’s our cause?” They felt like doing good makes people feel good like it was a requisite for organizations to prove to their consumers that they care.

If purpose isn’t linked to craft and motivations, the audience is just too savvy [and will see right through it]. You need to understand who’s growing up in the world right now. Transparency is key—they are much more likely to attach to an organization that doing something that is meaningful and has impact. If it’s not in your wheelhouse, you can’t fake it.

What is the marketing topic that is most important to you as an innovator?

It’s all about being relevant and resonant. Innovation comes from access, intimacy and trust. I’m fascinated with this reciprocal nature of marketing and how to bring audiences into your process in a way that feels seamless.

For us at Sundance, artists are our property. The tricky part is, at what point are artists the product and Sundance the voice of the brand? We’ve done a lot of things lately where it’s not clear who the marketer and who the audience is. How do you look at all those variables and flex those muscles accordingly so you can meet your goals but also shapeshift in the process? Because it’s all about your audience and how they respond to you, being able to pivot in real time. To me, it’s always about constantly making it relevant.

Advertising Week: Interview With Global CEO Matt Scheckner

Advertising Week New York celebrates 15 years in 2018 and CEO Matt Scheckner has been there since the beginning. The Manhattan-based event spans over four days and always counts among its attendees and speakers many of marketing’s heavy hitters. Since 2004 Advertising Week, which is managed by Stillwell Partners, has expanded across the globe and now includes events in Latin America, Asia and Europe. Scheckner co-founded both Advertising Week and Stillwell Partners and remains heavily involved in the production of the global event platform. AList, in partnership with our friends at AW360, spoke with Scheckner about the humble beginnings of Advertising Week and where it’s headed.

How did Advertising Week begin?

A random phone call in July of 2002. Abby Hirschhorn, DDB Worldwide CMO, was looking for a big idea in support of an effort led by 4A’s Chairman Ken Kaess and CEO O. Burtch Drake to attract young talent, boost the image and morale of the industry, and reaffirm New York as a global advertising hub.

The first-ever meeting about Advertising Week offered a preview of the future. A thought leadership foundation, environment and experience were all established as key anchors of the game plan. And so, it was an October afternoon in 2002 in the Roxy Suite at Radio City Music Hall where it all began. Planning began in earnest in May of 2003 after it was agreed that the first-ever Advertising Week would take place in September of 2004. With long-time business partner Lance Pillersdorf and a small team, Advertising Week opened its doors for the first time with such venues as NASDAQ, the Museum of Television & Radio and a memorable first Opening Gala at Gracie Mansion hosted by Mayor Mike Bloomberg.

What did you do before Advertising Week?

At 23 I was the founding Executive Director of the New York Sports Commission. After time spent interning, I pitched Mayor Koch that New York City needed to recognize sport for what it was: a gateway to further economic development. Over 8 years we re-established New York as a center for big-time Olympic level competition and drafted winning bids for the 1993 Olympic Congress, and the 1998 Goodwill Games. The latter seems crazy when you look back. I spent the summer of ’94 in St Petersburg with luminaries like Ted Turner, Boris Yeltsin and Governor Mario Cuomo.

Since 2004, how much have you seen the industry change? 

In the years since The Week began, the smartphone has marched forth and become the standard. Anyone with access to a laptop and Internet connection is able to understand, reach and engage potential consumers. Brands can have real-time conversations with their customers whilst they interact with websites, mobile apps and platforms. Today’s advertising and marketing skill set looks nothing like 2004’s.

On September 27, 2004 when Advertising Week kicked off, Mark Zuckerberg was still on the Harvard campus. The iPhone was two years away and YouTube was three years away. Without exception, none of the tech-driven innovations which have re-shaped consumer behaviour and our industry were on the radar, or existed in any form, in 2004.

In many ways, I consider the timing of Advertising Week incredibly lucky. As it has evolved in New York City and everywhere else, Advertising Week has become a mirror of our industry and of the broader arena of business and popular culture. It has also become the place where the agenda is set for the year and where the most difficult and challenging issues facing our business – and often broader society – are tackled head on. Navigating change really sums it all up, and so much has changed from September of 2004.

Who are some of the musical acts you’ve had at events over the years?

In no order whatsoever: Jon Stewart and Curb Your Enthusiasm star, Susie Essman, at Jazz at Lincoln Center and Gnarls Barkley at the old Nokia Theater in 2006. Bruno Mars, Outkast, LCD Soundsystem, Alessia Cara, Pharrell Williams, Dua Lipa, Mark Ronson, Wyclef Jean, Ziggy Marley, Rita Ora, Sting, Nas, John Legend, The Roots, Snoop Dogg, Amy Schumer, Jimmy Fallon, Lewis Black, J. B. Smoove, Pete Holmes, Trevor Noah, Jeff Ross, and so many more. All have graced Advertising Week stages.

What do the next 15 years look like?

Well, let’s start with 2018. New players have emerged as kings and queens, others have disappeared, and the flow of ad dollars has rapidly shifted from traditional to emerging platforms. But what has not changed is the power of big ideas, good old-fashioned creativity, the influence of disruptors and innovators and our fundamental need as people to be inspired.

Looking ahead, no one can say how the future will play out, but as it unfolds, Advertising Week will be there every step of the way. And with our learning platform just around the corner, AWLearn will provide year-round engagement. It’s never been a more exciting time.

Gamers Spent $8.47B In August; Madden Sets New Record

The video game industry earned $8.47 billion in digital sales for August, according to the latest figures from SuperData Research. This represents seven percent growth over last year, driven by pay-to-play PC and free-to-play console titles.

On PC, World of Warcraft‘s Battle of Azeroth expansion was a big hit, earning Blizzard $161 million. This doesn’t include pre-sales leading up to the launch. In fact, WoW West subscribers reached its highest point since 2014. As a result, WoW held the number two spot for digital PC sales in August, with Dungeon Fighter Online holding the top honors.

Capcom’s Monster Hunter World sold two million units on PC after a successful launch on console. The adventure game, which has a film in development, knocked PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds down to second place on the PC rankings for August.

League of Legends, meanwhile, could experience its worst performing year since 2014. The popular free-to-play MOBA title dropped 21 percent compared to the same time period in 2017. Mastercard recently signed with League of Legends as the game’s first global partner, which will offer its cardholders VIP esports packages. With new exposure around the competition circuit, Riot Game’s title could bounce back during the World Championships beginning October 1.

Both free-to-play PC and social games experienced single-digit declines last month.

Epic Games’ critical darling, Fortnite continues to dominate the console charts at number one, followed by FIFA 18. Thanks to its loyal community and frequent updates, RockStar’s Grand Theft Auto V still holds its own at number three.

Madden 19 launched at number four on the console charts for August. SuperData estimates that Madden 19 sold 664,000 digital units, making it the best ever launch month for the franchise.

The usual mobile contenders defended their top positions last month, led by Honour of Kings, QQ Speed and Pokémon GO.

AList Partners With Advertising Week NY; Hosts Panel With CMO’s From GE, Equinox, Getty Images, Sundance

AList is proud to announce our partnership with Advertising Week New York, the world’s largest annual gathering of advertising, creative, entertainment, marketing, media and technology industry leaders. Taking place October 1 – 4 2018 at AMC Loews Lincoln Square, this year’s AWNewYork will feature speakers from across media and marketing. AList’s very own panel will be taking place Tuesday, October 2nd at 10:20 am where our panelists will be exploring the topic of recovering from failure.

How a marketer emerges from missteps and mistakes can massively influence future success and opportunity. This panel of marketers will have a frank discussion about attitudes around failure, how to pivot when you sense things are going awry and provide practical advice for those at any stage of their career on recovering from a failure.

Panelists

  • Monica Halpert, CMO, Sundance Institute

  • Vimla Gupta, CMO, Equinox

  • Gene Foca, CMO, Getty Images

  • Dara Treseder, CMO, GE Business Innovations & GE Ventures, General Electric

Moderator: H.B. Duran, Reporter, AList

About Advertising Week
Since it began in 2004 led by co-founders Matt Scheckner and Lance Pillersdorf, Advertising Week has evolved into the number one business-to-business event in New York cutting across all industries and has expanded rapidly across the globe replicating its signature formula blending thought leadership on the business of the business by day and show business by night. The Week now enjoys a global footprint with editions in London, Tokyo, Mexico City and Sydney and via AW360 has extended the thought leadership platform beyond the events onto smartphones and tablets the year-round.

Advertising Week is produced globally by New York-based Stillwell Partners.

About AList
AList is an award-winning media platform providing over 1.3 million members of the media and marketing community with insights, trends, data and analysis via our site, events and newsletter, facilitating an active community for our readership across platforms to connect and share insights. We are proud to count the world’s leading marketers and media executives in our core readership.