Category F01. Branded Games
Name Company Position
Alan Kelly Rothco Executive Creative Director
Jonathon Cullen Rothco Creative Director
Jonathon Cullen Rothco Creative Director
Frances O’Rourke Rothco Copywriter
Katie Oslizlok Rothco Account Director
Aoife O’Shea Rothco Account Manager
Sarah Walsh Rothco Strategy
Emer Fitzpatrick Rothco Connection Strategy
Catherine Shaw-Halford Rothco Connection Strategy
Karina Cotter Rothco Agency Producer
Margaret Levingstone Rothco Agency Producer
Darach McHugh Rothco Motion Graphics
Stephen Flynn Rothco UI Design
Daire Lennon Rothco Technical Director
Brian O'Malley Red Rage Director
Gary Moore Red Rage Producer
Phillip Cullen Windmill Lane Editor
Dave Hughes Windmill Lane Colourist
Mark Richards Mutiny Sound Studio
Windmill Lane Pictures Windmill Lane Pictures Post Production
Mutiny Mutiny Sound Studio
Laura Cahill Rothco Agency Producer
Paul Power Rothco Multi Media Producer
Gareth Nolan Rothco Editor

The Campaign

The Irish Defence Forces are a highly skilled force (especially in the peacekeeping arena) but potential recruits don’t know how awesome a career in it is because they don’t get to see them in action. After all, Ireland is a neutral country. We knew our 18-24 year old audience played games, so we teased the launch of “A New Dawn” as a Trojan horse to ambush them and get them to consider a career in the army. Viewers were invited to “Play The Game or Play For Real” on However on the launch date, players discovered this was not your average game, this was a real life experience. An immersive interactive video of a real military mission seen through the eyes of a real soldier. This was as close as you could get to the army without actually signing up demonstrating the expertise, strength and ability of the force

Creative Execution

Timeline: 1 week teaser stage followed by a 3 week recruitment campaign. The teaser stage focused on the launch of a fake game “A New Dawn” and all comms directed to a countdown site. On the launch date it was revealed this was not a fictional game, this was a real life experience. A real branded game for the Irish Defence Forces. Users played an immersive interactive video that put them in the boots of a real soldier on a real land, sea and sky mission. We created the branded game by placing a GoPro on a real soldier that was taking part in the mission so the audience got an unprecedented view of the Defence Forces. We also made the game mobile-first to cater to our target audience. Players got to control the soldier, make 6 strategic decisions and ultimately, if successful, were invited to ‘Join Our Team’.

Within just 4 weeks… We got a record breaking 5,000 applications, marking the end of a worrying 4 year downward trend. The campaign reached 1 million views in a population of just 4.5 million. Total conversion rate from game to sign-up was 16% - this is 620% higher than the industry average. Visitors to the site were heavily engaged, staying for approx. 3 minutes and visiting on average 3 pages. Visits to the Defence Forces website rose by 88% during the campaign - 61% of visitors were from organic search. It made national and international news, picked up by RTE, Huffington Post, the Independent, Ad World, The Stable, The Drum and The Sun among others.

18-24 year olds are notoriously hard to reach. But for the Irish Defence Forces they are even harder to engage. Considering only 29% would recommend the Irish army as a career to friends/family, it’s of no surprise that 73% of them have never even considered joining themselves. Getting them to pay attention to a recruitment drive would prove difficult. But we knew that the reality of a career in the army would appeal to many within the target audience, if they’d only take a closer look. We uncovered that Irish 18-24 year olds spend on average 20 hours per week gaming. So we used this as a familiar vessel to enter their world and place them into the boots of a real soldier. However, considering their indifference towards the Defence Forces, we knew it wouldn’t be easy getting them to play the video. So we tricked them into it!