ProjectCall of Duty: Ghosts
Rally for Reveal
In announcing the newest Call of Duty title in the crowded field of video games, Activision had to cut through the noise and grab the attention of the much-distracted male 18–34 demographic and generate a swell of excitement that reached beyond the core gaming audience. The Call of Duty: Ghosts reveal needed to not only harness the power of the Call of Duty community, but also integrate the underlying theme of camaraderie, a key aspect of the newest installment of the storied franchise.
YouTube Influencer Activation
It started with our biggest YouTube supporters. Partnering with 19 of the biggest Call of Duty influencers on YouTube (with a combined reach of 11.5 million subscribers), they simultaneously replaced their channel skins with the cryptic message: “The Ghosts Are Real“ and shared it with their followers. A rash of discussion and speculation spread throughout the Call of Duty community.
A day later, the main event began: we replaced CallofDuty.com with a giant mosaic that allowed fans to add their Facebook or Twitter avatars to reveal an image—the iconic skull key art for the game. Together, Call of Duty fans from around the world were coming together and unlocking the highly anticipated next chapter in the franchise.
The gaming community and media immediately took notice. Once completed, it displayed the “The Ghosts Are Real” message, confirming Ghosts to the world—and unlocked the very first trailer for the game.
The spark ignited by the YouTube influencers generated millions of social media impressions and a rash of speculation leading into the website mosaic, which blew away all records and expectations. The prior record for a mosaic completion of this scale was 20 hours, set by The Dark Knight Rises for its Bane character reveal. Call of Duty’s community unlocked the mosaic, with 13% more tiles, in half that time—seeing as many as 250 new faces added per second.
The community’s unlocking of the Ghosts website led to maximum viewership and awareness for the announcement and reveal trailers (12 million views and 21 million views, respectively), both of which made YouTube’s most shared ads list for May 2013 (#6 and #8, respectively).
This was the first time a AAA video game was revealed with such an eye toward the community, where the fans felt like they were truly part of the experience. And its success influenced all future Call of Duty: Ghosts reveals and events, with the community involved every step of the way. It was proof of a franchise moving forward.