By now, we’re used to seeing celebs pop up in adverts for video games. The ‘Call of Duty’ franchise is well-known for using a vast array of celebs for their high-octane commercials, including Kobe Bryant, Robert Downey Jr., Megan Fox, Jonah Hill, Sam Worthington, Taylor Kitsch, Cara Delevingne and Chris Evans, to name a few. Even though some video games such as ‘Rise of the Tomb Raider’ employed a unique marketing campaign without any famous faces, the general public always gets a kick out of seeing actors, singers, models, or sports stars appear in game adverts where you least expect.
Supercell, makers of the mobile strategy game ‘Clash of Clans’, took everyone by surprise by hiring Liam Neeson, famous for his gruff and serious movie characters. Using this persona to their advantage, the advert played up Neeson’s deadly and solemn character in ‘Taken’, creating a juxtaposition so perfect with a whimsical and light online game such as ‘Clash of Clans’. Supercell scored a major touchdown (the ad was first aired during halftime of the 2015 Super Bowl) with Neeson’s involvement, as the video currently has a whopping 111 million views on YouTube.
Since then, Supercell have released several more commercials starring Christoph Waltz, famous for his villainous roles in ‘Spectre’ and ‘Inglourious Basterds’. Despite some decent acting, the adverts somewhat failed to capture the viral aspect that Neeson’s achieved so effortlessly. Waltz’s adverts, while of course getting the necessary details of the ‘Clash of Clans’ game across to viewers, are… well, uninteresting to put it lightly. What’s more, a recent commercial co-starring host of The Late Late Show, James Corden, is incredibly long for advertising standards, coming in at around 2:50 seconds. Sure, this won’t take up your entire afternoon, but the video isn’t anywhere close to deserving that runtime. Plus, in terms of shareability and going viral? Forget about it.
Elsewhere in the world of celebrity-endorsed commercials for online games, developers Machine Zone are pulling out all the stops for their ‘Game of War: Fire Age’ title. Part of a recent swarm of online strategy games found on sites like this, ‘Game of War’ became incredibly popular due to a team up with model Kate Upton for a string of epic commercials. Also aired during the 2015 Super Bowl (a good year for online gaming it seems), one advert featured explosions, battles, crumbling castles, and most decisively perhaps: Kate Upton’s breasts. After the commercial was released, ‘Game of War: Fire Age’ simply shot to fame, reaching second place on the top grossing mobile games list and still now continues to pull in approximately $1 million every day.
Despite the clear popularity with the commercials, Machine Zone have since replaced Upton with 45-year-old pop star Mariah Carey. The latest video features the same level of swords, dragons and mayhem we’ve come to expect with a ‘Game of War’ advert, but has a little more comedy than previous efforts. Carey’s screen time amounts to roughly five seconds, yet the commercial is a decent follow-up to Upton’s, but like Waltz’s adverts, seems to lack that shareability factor needed to go viral.
With so many celebrities happy to take part in gaming adverts, and companies more than willing to spend the big bucks to hire their services, it’s fair to say that we’ll see a lot more familiar faces in these types of adverts. However, keeping them fun, unique, and most importantly, shareable, will be their toughest task without a doubt.