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Five genius publicity-stunt ideas to market beloved games

Five genius publicity-stunt ideas to market beloved games

Marketing miracles for Pokémon, Resident Evil, and more. 

Marketing gurus watch out: our Just About Video Games members are coming for your jobs. We set a bounty challenging our community to invent a publicity stunt to market a game of their choice, and the submissions are so good we should charge for this list.
A good game-marketing stunt builds excitement, shows off the game’s features, and most importantly gets people talking. Sometimes, that means that the ideas are outlandish, like that time they shot a replica SSV Normandy from Mass Effect into space or when they inexplicably got beloved British kids’ comedy duo The Chuckle Brothers to play real-life Hitman. Oh dear, oh dear.
Be sure to let us know what you think of our community’s ideas and tell us which you think would be the most successful!

Resident Evil x interactive haunted houses

Our first games-marketing idea is not for the faint of heart. It was suggested by @scrbzy for any major horror franchise like Resident Evil or Silent Hill, though they note that Silent Hill would be a riskier choice because there’s an all-too real chance that people would come away traumatised.
“I’ve always thought that it would be cool to do a series of interactive haunted houses to tie into a horror franchise. Imagine walking through a location seen in-game while zombies or ghosts jump out at you. You could even model it like the game’s first scene or mission. Upon completion, participants would receive a code to get the game at a discounted price. The code could even let you pick up the video game from where you left off in the haunted house. You’d need the resources to build pop-up locations, so maybe it’s one of those ideas that sounds cool in theory but might not work well IRL.”
We think Scrbzy is selling himself short there, and that an immersive haunted house promotion is workable. Although as @JasonBoomer points out, one thing is for sure: participants would need to sign a waiver.

The War Thunder Extravaganza

While we’re discussing feasibility, it’s safe to say that @DaSamCheck’s marketing idea is… ambitious. Samuel is a big fan of the vehicular military MMO War Thunder. They’ve called their idea an ‘extravaganza’, and it’s no exaggeration. We certainly think it would rally more players for War Thunder, but it may also result in survivalists across two continents rushing for their bunkers.
“Picture this: The War Thunder Extravaganza - a weekend full of jaw-dropping sights and fun for all ages and hobbies across the entirety of the US and Europe. There’d be ships sailing, tanks rolling, and planes soaring. There’d be events and spectacles for vehicle lovers of all kinds, such as:
  • Sidecar rides: all sorts of military vehicle-themed carnival rides for kids to have a blast on
  • Ship tours: visiting the grand and historical ships featured in War Thunder, such as the USS Cleveland or the USS Texas
  • Aerobatics and air shows: a chance for armchair pilots to watch the beauty of historical planes in flight
  • Tank displays: an opportunity for our inner-children to check out some adult-sized toys
  • Live firing demonstrations: anyone who loves a big boom could experience the sheer force of these powerful machines
     
These are but a few examples of the extravaganza’s potential. It would be important for all of the featured vehicles to be included in War Thunder too. It could even be a charity event, giving back to the community and the restoration projects that keep these historically important machines running.”

Wielding Final Fantasy’s legendary weapons

@lanah_tyra also has an idea for a weaponry-based, activity-packed, travelling show. Over to her to explain:
“There are craftspeople on YouTube who make weapons from games and movies to show how absurd and impractical they would be in reality. Take, for example, Cloud’s sword from FF7, which would be impossibly heavy.
 
“As a publicity stunt, show up to towns with these game weapons crafted. They’d have blunt edges, of course (health and safety and all). Then you’d get people to try to lift them up, wield them, strike dummies, etc. It would be a modern day version of pulling Excalibur from the stone. While the winners might not be crowned king, they’d be crowned the strongest person in their town. You could give out special accessories or in-game rewards to the victors.”

No man’s guerilla marketing

@tyrannosaur has a similar idea to Scrbzy’s horror house, but this time swapping out the zombies and ghouls for starships and aliens. They’d take the opening minutes of No Man’s Sky and translate them into an interactive roleplaying experience. Unlike some of the other ideas on this list, this one intentionally wouldn’t be marketed and would instead rely on the curiosity of passers-by to organically build hype.
“When you start a game in No Man’s Sky, you find yourself in an orange spacesuit on an alien world alongside your crashed ship, The Radiant Pillar BC1, which requires repairing. You could create ship replicas and place them in public locations, even throwing in some smoke and special effects. Next to the ship, there would be someone in an orange spacesuit asking passers-by for parts and materials so that they can make their repairs.
 
“These supplies would be available from aliens hanging around in the area. Those aliens could give participants challenges before handing over the goods. After collecting all the necessary parts and returning them to the astronaut, people would receive a copy of the game or other merch.”

The ultimate pokéshow 

@LetitiaTHELemon’s passion for her idea shone in her description. Alongside content creation, Letitia works as an actor, entertainer, and immersive theatre performer. She’s had this idea for years but has never known how to make it a reality.
“I love anything that brings a fictional world into the real one. That’s why I dream of running an immersive Pokémon show. Think bright and colourful sets that budding trainers (guests) walk through. Each set would showcase a landscape of a new region with plushies and screens showing Pokémon living happily in their habits.”
To translate the show into a new-game promotion, Lanah suggests an extra spin:
“Dress up actors as new gym leaders, each representing a different type of Pokémon. Trainers could battle them at kiosks to earn souvenir badges. As players make their way through the experience, they’d find clues about the new villainous team; you could even have a couple of actors appear in the villains’ uniforms before disappearing to go work on their evil plans. And what happens at the end of the experience? The new starter Pokémon are revealed!
 
“Pokémon is the largest-grossing media franchise in the world. Over the years, they’ve come up with many fun ways to promote their products, and something like this would be a dream come true for a pokéfan and performer. I was inspired by the old Pokémon Live musical from 2000/2001, the ‘real’ Pokémon gym that a YouTuber created, Pokémon Go’s use of augmented reality, and even the Pokémon centre popups which have costumed characters promoting them.”

We can’t decide which of these ideas we’d love to take part in more. Let us know what your top picks are in the comments! 
Some text has been amended for brevity. You can find the original wording at the bounty post.
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