VISIT XBOX: THE BIRTH OF GAMING TOURISM

Short List
ClientMICROSOFT
Category B05. Use of Print / Outdoor
TitleVISIT XBOX: THE BIRTH OF GAMING TOURISM
Product/ServiceXBOX ONE X ENHANCED
Entrant McCANN LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM
Idea Creation McCANN LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM
Production McCANN LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM
Production 2 CRAFT LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM
Production 3 FIRE WITHOUT SMOKE London, UNITED KINGDOM
Production 4 MOMENTUM WORLDWIDE London, UNITED KINGDOM
Production 5 CLOCKWORK Johannesburg, SOUTH AFRICA
Additional Company MRM METEORITE London, UNITED KINGDOM
Additional Company 2 ATTENTION SEEKERS London, UNITED KINGDOM
Credits
Name Company Position
Rob Doubal McCann London Chief Creative Officer, McCann UK, and Co-President
Laurence Thomson McCann London Chief Creative Officer, McCann UK, and Co-President
Sanjiv Mistry McCann London Executive Creative Director
Jamie Mietz McCann London Executive Creative Director
Jim Nilsson McCann London Copywriter
Jacob Björdal McCann London Art Director
Jim Nilsson McCann London Director
Jacob Björdal McCann London Director
Karen Crum McCann London Head of Strategy
James Appleby McCann London Senior Planner
Fanni David McCann London Senior Planner
Thomas Keane McCann London Planner
Dan Howarth McCann London Head of Art
Matthew Thomas McCann London Designer
Nazima Motegheria McCann London Designer
Clare Prager McCann London Project Director
Anna Curtis McCann London Project Manager
Rob Smith McCann London EVP & CCO, McCann UK
Sailesh Jani McCann London Managing Partner
Nicole Robinson-Spaude McCann London Senior Account Director
Lynne Carter McCann London Account Director
Andy Wynn McCann London Account Director
Robert Stockton McCann London Senior Account Manager
Conor Lloyd McCann London Senior Account Manager
Anastasia Imam McCann London Account Manager
Lucy Manning McCann London Account Manager
Eloise Thompson McCann London Account Executive
Sergio Lopez Craft/McCann Chief Production Officer EMEA
Sophie Chapman-Andrews Craft/McCann Lead Executive Producer
Kin-man Ly Craft/McCann Executive Producer
Ellis Faint Craft/McCann Head of Studio
Alex Dougan Craft/McCann Head of Studio
Alex Dougan Craft/McCann Producer
Harvey Winter Craft/McCann Junior Producer
Jeremy Reichman Craft/McCann Producer
Liam White Craft/McCann Print Producer
Angelo Tsolkas Craft/McCann Producer
Pam Oskam Craft/McCann Art Buyer
Julie Hughes Craft/McCann Art Buyer
John Martin Craft/McCann Studio Imaging Director
Rob McDonald Craft/McCann Senior Retoucher
Matt Dollings Craft/McCann Senior Editor
Paul Jenkinson Craft/McCann Senior Editor
Sabina Dallu Craft/McCann Editor
Holly Webster Craft/McCann Creative Researcher
Robbie Maynard Craft/McCann Print Studio Manager
Tai Smith Momentum Creative Technologist
Duncan Harris Freelance Photography
Josh Taylor Freelance Photography

Why is this work relevant for Direct?

This is relevant for Direct because it targeted a new audience, who didn't care about weapons and hero characters, to buy Xbox's richly-detailed games by creating a new reason to engage with them: Not to play. To visit. With a campaign centred on a call-to-action - 'Visit Xbox' - Xbox directly asked the audience to reappraise it as a travel brand. It wasn't about selling games, but selling destinations. Through a Rough Guides travel guide to gaming locations, in-game tours and much more, we made people act like gaming tourists – discovering, buying, and experiencing games in a new way.

Background

Xbox’s belief is that gaming should be for everyone. Yet for decades, videogame marketing has always focused on hero characters, guns and explosions. But gaming has become so much more. The graphics in Xbox games are now almost life-like, open-world games are vast, and developers are increasingly including photo modes in their games. How could Xbox target a new audience who didn’t care about guns and bombs?

Describe the creative idea (30% of vote)

To bring in that new audience, we created a brand new reason to buy videogames. Not to play. To visit. Xbox transformed into a travel brand, promoting not the gameplay, but the locations available in games – all built around a groundbreaking partnership with one of the world’s biggest travel guide publishers, Rough Guides. Together, we created 'The Rough Guide to Xbox', which functioned like a travel guide to a country (what to see, when to go, what to buy etc.), but for the first time, this advice was entirely for virtual worlds. It changed how an audience could experience games, and we amplified that shift across all channels, with tourist board-style commercials and OOH ads, experiential in-game guided tours, selling console bundles as package holidays and even applying for official tourist board accreditation.

Describe the strategy (20% of vote)

How do you talk about tech benefits like 4K, HDR, and 60 FPS, to a new mainstream audience, who didn't resonate with the specs, or even the conventions of videogame advertising like hero characters and weapons? To justify the purchase of Xbox’s high-spec console and games, we had to get people to appreciate the richness of Xbox's games in a new way, beyond the normal way of promoting games. So Xbox underwent an unprecedented brand transformation: a gaming brand became a travel brand. For the first time, we began promoting not the gameplay, but the locations available in games, appealing to people on an emotional rather than rational level. It changed how this audience discovers, experience, and purchases games. It was no longer about promoting games as things to play – but as destinations to see - all wrapped up in the tourist board-esque call-to-action 'Visit Xbox'.

Describe the execution (20% of vote)

The media approach emulates the travel sector - a tourist board-style commercial, DOOH executions, press ads, contextual ads on flight search sites, application for tourist board accreditation, and livestreamed guided tours. But the centrepiece is a groundbreaking partnership with global travel guide publisher Rough Guides. Together, we created the first-ever travel guide to gaming worlds – The Rough Guide to Xbox, a fully-functioning travel reference book, working just like a Rough Guide to Paris or Italy, which gamers could use to discover the best sightseeing in Xbox games. Everything channel to a .com site that lets people discover and buy games in a new way. Instead of searching by title or genre, customers browse games by location (like cities, beaches, and more). And to further drive sales of consoles and games, Xbox also promoted console bundles as package holidays.

List the results (30% of vote)

- Debuted in 29 countries and counting. - 4x average response rate - 55% increase in traffic