The best ideas often seem obvious with hindsight, and so it is with the Xbox campaign that tapped into the diverse gaming community to promote Xbox Design Lab, its controller customisation store.

It didn’t start out that way, Karen Crum, head of strategy at McCann London, told Behind the Winning Idea, WARC’s daily show on Cannes Lions TV.

“Every time we asked somebody why they’d want a controller we got a different answer – we weren’t going to be able to lean in on just one reason why they’d buy it.

“We needed an idea that connected quite broadly,” she said. Stepping back to look at the bigger picture of the gaming world – ad blocking, strong gamer-to-gamer communications, an interest in the side hustle of selling online – provided the answer.

You sometimes retrofit ideas, Crum acknowledged, but “that all created an environment, where – if you think about all these things – only this kind of idea is going to really work to move the needle”.

Watch Cannes Lions TV live or catch up later with a Cannes Digital Pass.
You can also download the WARC White Paper, Anatomy of Marketing Effectiveness, which highlights five priorities for brands who want to improve the impact of their ads.
The notion of enabling gamers to design customised controllers which they owned and could sell to other gamers around the world while taking a cut of the sale price was a hit, and boosted all the mandated KPIs of awareness, conversion and sales (controller sales leapt 350%).

“It’s almost a self-fuelling idea,” Crum said of the ‘design, promote, earn’ basis of the Fanchise Model (Read the award-winning case study in full here.)

“It was one of those where, once you put enough energy behind it and it got going in the community, it would have the impact – it was a catalyst.”

Gamers took the idea and ran with it as they marketed their own designs – and Xbox  marketed their marketing.

“It felt like we learned a lot about how to work with this community,” Crum added. “We learned loads that we’re going to use in future ideas.”

In a world full of irritating banners ads and ad blocking, “there’s a different kind of value model in that advertising that we created … It’s a kind of benchmark: if we do that how can we do even more? How can we take that and get better?”

Sourced from WARC