Guerrilla Gaming: Insights from (Young) Brave, Fabian Daniel
London Games Festival
I attended the London Games Festival held on Monday 9th April to gain knowledge and insight about the game industry ahead of writing this blog. The all-day event was staged at Victoria House, Bloomsbury Square in Holborn. At first, I was nervous but as the day progressed I began to feel more calm and collected. In total near to 100 people attended the event. During the event, my eyes were opened to types of gaming that I had not previously encountered very often.
Whilst there, I met a company called Nerd Monkeys. They are an indie games company from Lisbon, Portugal. Founded in 2013, they specialize in PC games. During a talk and demonstration of their latest upcoming game, they shared some of their guerilla marketing techniques.
Firstly, they printed stickers of the company logo and put them onto bananas that the company had bought, which were then shipped off to all areas of Portugal. This was a good idea in my opinion because it is a cheap but effective way of getting your brand out there as bananas are widely consumed and it has a large demographic to reach.
Secondly, they took a picture of the iconic billboards at Piccadilly Circus in London. The company then photoshopped the picture, cropping out one of the existing logos and replacing it with the Nerd Monkeys logo.
They then posted on Facebook, that the company had used all of its game design money on the advertising, causing a frenzy of panic amongst their small contingent of fans.
When the company admitted this was just a prank, they received notoriety and acclaim, and even caught the attention of the local Portuguese news media.
They said the reason for their strategies is because indie game companies do not have a lot of money to spend on marketing as they are more often than not just small studios. However, as it is a crucial part in any business, they need to come up with innovative and cost-effective ways of getting the brand name out into the public.
What is it?
Guerilla marketing is an effective way of advertising or marketing a product or service in an unorthodox way, often with a small budget. These ideas need to be attention grabbing and memorable and require some real out-of-the box thinking.
Good examples of this?
Examples of this are Mars, who have turned some of the company vehicles into “truck size” Mars bars. This promotion was put together by Mars’ advertising agencies; MediaCom, Starcom and OMD. This means that any pedestrians or motorists who come across vehicles will see a gigantic chocolate bar.
Additionally, Kit Kat has transformed brown park benches into chocolate bars by painting half of a wrapper onto the bench, grabbing attention of passer-bys and commuters. In my opinion, they have done this to encourage people to ‘take a break’, which is their well-known slogan. This was done by their advertising agency, Adbrands. Innovative ideas like this by businesses’ marketing teams means that the big companies do not have to spend a lot of money on advertising through TV or radio.
Further examples of this are Tyskie, a brand of beer from Tychy, Poland. This company put the picture of a glass of beer on the door of certain restaurants, with the handle being that of a mug. This means that customers who pull the door to enter the restaurant will clearly see the logo of the brand and it will be embedded in their minds when it comes to ordering drinks.
Moreover, in New York City, IWC Schaffhausen, an internationally renowned luxury watch company, have made hand grips on the subway trains and buses to look like a replica of one of their luxury watches, this gets the attention from a lot of commuters using the packed transportation system.
Guerrilla marketing in gaming
Guerrilla marketing is a great way of getting people to know about your businesses but in a cost-effective manner. It can be particularly effective in the world of gaming.
For example, Rockstar North, the makers behind the Grand Theft Auto series, put up posters around New York City of some of the lead characters of the upcoming Grand Theft Auto IV game on lampposts in 2008.
Additionally, cryptic posters appeared on station platforms around the London Underground network ahead of the release of video game Resident Evil VII, after social media blew up with suggestions on what the posters could be.
As the gaming industry becomes more advanced, guerilla marketing becomes an ever more effective way of grabbing attention and undoubtedly will play a vital role in the future of gaming.
The future of gaming
Personally, I believe that the future of gaming lies in tech-infused toys. For example, whilst at the LGF, I met a group of Dutch software developers and programmers who studied at MIT University in America and now based in London. Whilst there, they created a game that could be set down on a table and then transferred to an iPad. You can purchase cards with a little piece of track on it, many cards can be joined together to create a race circuit, it is then scanned onto an iPad where the completed circuit pops up with a virtual car that you can take control of, as well as racing against friends online and comparing circuits. The game was developed by Firebolt Games and is called Firetrax.
Furthermore, the future of gaming also lies with virtual reality, as many big gaming companies have invested a lot of time and money into VR. This includes the likes of Sony, who brought virtual reality into consoles with ps4. One of the most popular VR games is The Impatient, a game where you wake up in a medical facility with no recollection of any prior events. The gaming community also considers The Impatient as one of the most horrifically scary ps4 VR games on sale.
To conclude, guerrilla marketing is an extremely effective way of getting your business into the public’s eye. The fact that billions of people use social media worldwide each year, and by 2020, a third of the entire population is expected to be using social media, means that simple, innovative ideas can be viewed a large number of times and all across the world, and it can all be started with a single person and a smartphone.
My name is Fabian Daniel. I am 17 years of age and it is my ambition to become a sports journalist. I live in London and enjoy writing. As well as writing, I also enjoy sports and am an avid footballer, playing in defense. I also frequent in playing tennis. My hobbies also include taking my dog out for a walk. Additionally, I have just finished my GCSE courses at Langdon Park School, where I received 8 A*-C grades and will be attending college to study; government & politics, English literature, psychology and sports journalism in September.