September 12 is National Video Game Day in the US, inspiring brands to celebrate with their audiences. Naturally, all the major players took advantage of the internet holiday to remind consumers of offerings and brand legacy. A few non-endemic brands joined in the fun too, using a mutual love of gaming to raise awareness or simply show solidarity with fans.
Arby’s: Choose Your Weapon
Arby’s has made a reputation on social media for its artistic prowess with cardboard food packaging. For Video Game Day, the restaurant covered an arcade gamepad with Arby’s branded cardboard and recreated weapons from various game franchises including Chun Li’s wrist spikes (Street Fighter), Lara Croft’s ice climbing axe (Tomb Raider), Sora’s Keyblade (Kingdom Hearts) and Ezio’s knife gauntlet (Assassin’s Creed).
Cartoon Network: Select Your Player
Cartoon Network created an 8-bit video game “screenshot” that allowed fans to imagine what a fighting game would be like using the brand’s characters. Audiences responded with their ideal “fighters” from shows like Steven Universe, Mao Mao, Teen Titans Go!, The Powerpuff Girls, Adventure Time and more, although several pointed out the absence of OK K.O. Let’s be Heroes!, a cartoon based in a world heavily inspired by video games.
Red Bull: Fruit Ninja Parody
Okay, Krav Maga isn’t Ninjitsu, but technically, neither is slicing fruit with a katana. Red Bull, ever-present in the video game scene, posted a video of a man’s impressive Krav Maga skills superimposed with graphics from the popular game Fruit Ninja.
The brand immediately made fun of itself for capitalizing on the internet holiday, linking to the Reddit thread “fellow kids,” so named after a meme of Steve Bushimi attempting to pass himself off as a teenager.
Honda: 30 Years And Going
Honda wanted to remind gamers that its vehicles have been recreated in video games for over 30 years. The brand is also active in esports, sponsoring Team Liquid and becoming the exclusive automotive partner of the League of Legends Championship Series.
To celebrate its gaming legacy, Honda released a video highlighting vehicles going back to the 1996 Civic Ferio.
Soft drink company Faygo paid tribute to classic arcade games with a parody of Pac-Man called Cap-Man. The image recreated the iconic Pac-Man game board, replacing ghosts and power-ups with Faygo products.
Internet Holidays: A Marketing Playground
It’s not just you, everyday seems to be a hashtag holiday on social media. That’s because savvy social brands choose their participation wisely—sharing tributes, jokes and promotions that align with its core values and online persona.
Other recent examples include Werther’s life-sized Candyland game board for #CaramelDay and Heinz’s “fruit or vegetable” debate for National Tomato Day. Other brands have taken to creating their own internet holidays such as Netflix’s #StrangerThingsDay and Pabst Blue Ribbon’s National Mural Day.