This year was a pretty busy one for Super Bowl advertising, and also among the first where mobile games made a huge impact. uCool spent a whopping $4.5 million for a 15-second spot for Heroes Charge; and Machine Zone spent a good amount of cash on a lucrative new ad for Game of War: Fire Age, once again featuring model Kate Upton.

However, it was Supercell making the biggest move with its latest advertisement for Clash of Clans. Not only did the company invest $9 million in a 60-second ad featuring its warriors at play, but it also employed a top-notch actor to take part in the proceedings – Liam Neeson, the star of the Taken series, amongst other action fare.

In the trailer, Neeson finds his army defeated by a random online player, and vows revenge – all while waiting on his latte. The ad can be viewed below.

Mobile Dev Memo explained the logistics behind going with a big-budget ad such as this one. With a large audience tuned in to the game (approximately 112.2 million watched last year’s), it’s an easy opportunity to get newcomers interested in a property – and adding a personality like Neeson makes it a little simpler to accept the content, rather than uCool’s “quickie” ad that says very little about the game, outside of some quick animatics.

Said Mobile Dev Memo in the article, “If just one percent of those viewers converted – a fairly reasonable rate for in-app advertising – then a cost-per-install of $16.04 was paid for 281k new users. While high, this CPI isn’t outside of a reasonable range that a developer might expect to pay for a game as old as Clash of Clans through in-app ads in the US, especially in such a large-scale campaign. These figures also don’t take into account the hundreds of thousands to millions of free commercial impressions that will likely be delivered via YouTube over the course of the next few months.

So the move pays off in spades. While Heroes Charge was considered by many to be a quick, forgettable ad (but still probably effective with a certain audience), Neeson’s Clash of Clans ad will likely make a bigger impact in the long run, especially with the actor still being quite popular in most circles. (His latest release, Taken 3, is still circulating in theaters.


“The aim of this strategy seems to be to target groups of people (likely men) that have come together to watch a sporting event and might discuss the mobile game after viewing the commercial,” the article continues. “This is a different tactic, serving a different type of game, than buying airtime to promote a single-player title. So if Supercell’s goal with its Super Bowl commercial was acquisition, it was likely a very specific type of acquisition: of a player that can download the game and instantly join an existing clan.

One thing’s for sure – Supercell is likely to continue such an angle with future campaigns, especially considering the effectiveness of Neeson’s appearance. Sure, the ads may cost a bit, but it seems like the payoff from new and existing consumers will certainly be worth it