‘Clash of Kings’ Comes to Life with Sword Fighting Knights and a Whimsical Castle at GDC
When Beijing-based game developer ELEX decided to exhibit at the 2016 Game Developers Conference® (GDC) in San Francisco, the company didn’t know where to begin. This would be ELEX’s first foray into exhibiting, so they asked the team at GDC for advice. Knowing we specialize in gaming conferences, GDC referred the creator of the “Clash of Kings” mobile game to The Trade Group.
While the GDC is geared toward gaming professionals (game designers, programmers, artists, audio experts and business professionals), ELEX wanted to market both the company and the “Clash of Kings” game. Best of all – they wanted to create a fun, interactive experience the 26,000 GDC attendees wouldn’t forget.
The Trade Group recommended a full-on, integrated marketing blitz and experience hosted by popular gamers. The focal point of the experience would be a custom, castle-themed exhibit mimicking the “Clash of Kings” game art. Entertainment, video content, insider tips, giveaways, photo opportunities and gaming stations would serve to attract and engage attendees.
OVERVIEW: ELEX was founded in 2008 and is known as a leader among Chinese tech companies for innovation and globalization. The company employs more than 500 people, with offices in Beijing, Hefei, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Taiwan in Asia, as well as Sao Paulo, Brazil.
INDUSTRY: Technology, Gaming
HOME BASE: Beijing, China
FUN FACT: “Clash of Kings” is the fifth most popular mobile game in the world.
MULTI-PRONGED MARKETING APPROACH SPOTLIGHTS ELEX AND ‘CLASH OF KINGS’
From the outset, our team of exhibit designers and experiential marketing experts knew they needed to produce a whimsical and high-energy vibe with the “Clash of Kings” experience. This required collaboration from multiple minds at The Trade Group as we executed a plan to meet the client’s goals, including:
EXHIBIT DESIGN: 3-D Castle with LEGO-style Blocks Sets the Stage
When designing the “Clash of Kings” exhibit, our goal was to capture a style that would mimic the game art. This style is reminiscent of other popular games like Minecraft and Super Mario Bros. – where LEGO-like blocks are featured. We used a fun, faux stone texture to bring the castle walls to life.
Other design features reinforced the “Clash of Kings” game art vibe, while supporting the functional needs of the exhibit space. Features included:
- A drawbridge (over a faux moat), which served as a stage for the featured entertainment, hosts and speakers.
- Open seating space where attendees could sit back and enjoy the knight fights and educational sessions about ELEX and the game.
- Multiple spaces for gaming and photo opps (see below).
INTERACTIVE EXPERIENCES: Photo Opps and Gaming Stations
To further enhance the exhibit design and attendee interaction at the booth, several photo opportunities were integrated into the space. The goal was to provide unique, immersive experiences suitable for sharing on social media. These included:
- Life-size game characters installed throughout the space.
- A spot where fans could sit in the King’s throne and wear his crown.
- Opportunities to mingle with the knights and princess between shows and presentations.
- Green screen set up which placed fans in a video “inside the game” with arrows being shot at them. A link of the video was sent to the fans for easy posting and sharing.
In addition, gaming stations were set up with iPads so attendees could play “Clash of Kings” onsite and learn more about the game.
LIVE ENTERTAINMENT: Knight Fights and Lady Gamers Wow the Crowd
The Trade Group’s marketing team developed a minute-by-minute schedule, scripts and talking points to direct and guide all activities at the exhibit. We were also responsible for coordinating talent for the three-day event. Highlights include:
- Choreographing and scripting the knight fight and creating an “Olde English-style” victory speech for the winning knight.
- Producing scripts and talking points for the hosts – popular gamers Pancake Pow and Smixty – as well as the princess played by Crystal Graziano, another popular gamer.
- Allotting time for a variety of activities where fans could get insider tips about the game, hear insight about the benefits of online game play and building alliances with other players, learn about ELEX and its culture, enjoy the entertainment, enter an iPad drawing and win ELEX and “Clash of Kings” swag.
DIGITAL DISPLAYS: Video Content Reinforces Live Presentations and High-Energy Vibe
Video played a key role as one of the many moving parts integrated into the “Clash of Kings” experience. Video played continually throughout the show and was created to align with the different activities happening at the exhibit.
A large video screen was installed above the drawbridge feature that played a variety content. A popular rap video entitled the “Clash of Kings Anthem” ran between sessions, and additional custom content was created to enhance the knight fight, provide visuals to improve understanding of tips from the pros, as well as illustrate a day in the life at ELEX.