Saturday, March 21, 2015

HALO: Marketing Evolved

Microsoft's XBOX One is gearing up for the next iteration of it's wildly popular HALO video game series which puts the player in the role of the Master Chief, a cybernetic super soldier, as he battles an alien race known as the Covenant.
HALO 2's marketing effort in 2004 involved an alternate reality game that let players solve real world puzzles that ultimately led them to a point where they could play a demo of the game. HALO 3, launched in 2007, followed up with an even more ambitious campaign that involved the release of action figures, a HALO branded soda, and video documentaries that cost $40 million. The big risk was a stunning success with 3.3 million units selling in the first week and total sales of $170 million in the first few days leading it to win several marketing awards. HALO 4 reverted to the same tactics used in the HALO 2 marketing campaign by challenging gamers with puzzles that unlocked promotional art which went viral in social media circles and on gaming blogs.

Needless to say, the series is immensely popular with many gamers and it would be easy for the developers to pare back the marketing budget for a brand that pretty much sells itself. The attached article is old, but it's really interesting because it dives into how the marketers have observed the evolution of their target market and how they view their different segments and I think the lessons learned can be applied to many different circumstances.

The HALO marketing machine is gearing up for the latest installment in the series with a Tumblr website that shows a picture of a bullet with the word "Traitor," written on it and a timer counting down to the next update. If history is any guide, this is just the beginning of a well orchestrated campaign to whip the loyal fanbase into a frenzy for the release of this title.

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