From A-list actors to the world’s best athletes, celebrities have made a growing number of appearances in video game promotions over the past few years. While a number of brands enlist the help of social media creators to promote their titles (Day of Doom, for example), today we’re looking at traditional celebrities who recently stepped in front of the camera to promote a video game.
Arnold Schwarzenegger – Mobile Strike
The former Governor of California, action movie star, and current reality TV show host has starred in a number of promotions for Mobile Strike, most notably with a live-action commercial aired during Super Bowl 50. Mobile Strike publisher, MZ CEO, Gabe Leydon attributes the game’s success to diversification of marketing. “What we found is that while most of your television ads don’t do much, what they do have is a tremendous effect on your mobile digital ads,” Leydon said at the Web Summit in London. “When people see Arnold Schwarzenegger on television, and they look down at their Facebook app and they see Arnold Schwarzenegger on a video ad there, they make that emotional connection from what they’ve seen on TV and it legitimizes the product in a lot of ways.”
T.I. – Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands
Rapper-turned-actor, Tip “T.I.” Harris stars as Marcus, a member of the cartel in a new short film released by Ubisoft. War Within the Cartel is a prequel to the upcoming open-world tactical game, Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands. The 30-minute video features the Santa Blanca drug cartel as they seek to flush out a traitor within their ranks—and its events will lead up to the opening moments of Ubisoft’s new game.
Gary Cole And Gary Busey – Hitman
To keep players engaged between episodes of Hitman, IO Interactive released elusive targets—contracts that players have only one opportunity to complete or fail. Among these elusive targets is actor Gary Busey, who won a fan vote against fellow actor Gary Cole for the honor of being killed in the game. In making a case for himself in the humorous promotional video, one of the villainous things Busey did was kidnap vegetarian kids and raise them on meat.
Blake Anderson – Dead Rising 4
Actor Blake Anderson didn’t know what he was getting into when he agreed to help promote Dead Rising 4 . . . other than a giant snow globe. Man vs. Holiday was an hour-and-a-half livestream from inside the aforementioned snow globe, where Anderson sat next to zombies as he attempted to play Dead Rising 4 through twelve holiday-themed challenges like ugly sweaters and incessant snowfall.
Everyone – Call of Duty
Activision has a reputation for enlisting celebrities to help promote its games, particularly when it comes to live-action trailers. Most recently, Olympic gold medalist, Michael Phelps, and comedian Danny McBride appeared in a trailer called “Screw it, let’s go to space”—a tongue-in-cheek nod to public criticism over the game’s location as well as election-year strife. Unable to handle it all anymore, citizens simply get on a spaceship and forget their woes in a symphony of explosions and gunfire. Appealing to sports fans, UFC champion Conor McGregor plays a villain named Captain Bradley Fillion in the game’s campaign mode in both voice and likeness, which is sure to bring some excellent cross promotion.
Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare throws a bit of ’80s nostalgia into the mix with its Zombies in Spaceland mode—employing celebrities from the era like Paul Reubens and David Hasselhoff. Actress and musician, Kate Micucci (Scrubs; Garfunkel and Oates) assumed the role of Alana—a Facebook chatbot for Terminal Tours, a choose-your-own-adventure promotion that went on to create over six million exchanges within 24 hours.