W Hotels has always marched to the beat of its own marketing drum, and now it has added a video game to its list of out-of-the-box campaigns. Belle the Bear is a retro-inspired mobile game that celebrates the grand opening of the new W Bellevue hotel in Seattle.
“Bellevue is a gamer’s city, so we thought it would be fun to tap into that energy but with a W twist,” Anthony Ingham, W Hotels Worldwide global brand leader said in a statement. “Creating Belle the Bear, a throwback game with an innovative edge, is just another example of how we are constantly looking for new ways to engage with future W fans on their own turf.”
Belle the Bear has players traversing an 8-bit world Frogger-style on their journey to a virtual W Bellevue hotel. This Seattle-themed adventure features a few special roadblocks to keep things interesting, such as a cannabis leaf that turns Belle into a gummy bear and cocktails that reverse the in-game controls.
Through July 15, top-scoring US gamers can compete for glory and prizes, including a trip for two to Seattle, where they will stay in the Extreme WOW Suite, dinner, wine tasting and a seaplane tour of western Washington. To help spread the word and celebrate its newest hotel, W has enlisted the help of social media stars.
“We are reaching out to influencers in the lifestyle and gaming space, posting the game link on our social channels and announcing the news globally in our news center,” Ingham told AListDaily. “The game also has built-in social sharing options, so participants can post their latest high score directly to their personal social channels. We think the news will spread organically, as it often does with fun new games.”
W Hotels joins a growing list of brands using games to promote and engage its audience. Following the release of Under Armour’s It Comes From Below ad campaign, a tie-in game was created for Snapchat that challenged fans to navigate Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton through a forest of obstacles. Netflix created an 8-bit endless runner game to highlight its lineup of original programming and Gatorade celebrated the 2016 US Open with a Snapchat game starring tennis champ Serena Williams. Additionally, NBC Universal turned to a variety of experiential campaigns to promote the launch of The Mummy, including a standalone VR stunt experience and a separate VR video game called The Mummy: Prodigium Strike, developed by Starbreeze (John Wick Chronicles).