EMMAs

Case Study: Supercell and Waste Creative “kill off” game to promote global launch

Alyssa Clementi

After a successful period of beta-testing its multiplayer battler Brawl Stars, mobile game developer Supercell knew it wanted to globally launch the game, but needed to create a campaign that would create both hype and “authentic” online noise, while still avoiding the use of paid media. In order to create such a campaign, Supercell collaborated with digital agency Waste Creative, who had been involved with Brawl Stars since its beta-launch almost a year-and-a-half earlier.

Supercell and Waste began by tracking, analyzing, and understanding Brawl Stars’ player base. The two companies used both social listening and data analysis to interpret what the beta players would most fervently react to. Ultimately, it was decided the best strategy would be to highlight Supercell’s reputation for killing off games and trick the beta players into thinking Supercell would be ending Brawl Stars permanently.

Supercell and Waste began their tactics by telling the gaming community that all Brawl Stars social media would be “reset” (deleted) and gave no explanation. The last thing posted by a Brawl Stars social media account was a picture of the main characters walking into the sunset as if to say "Goodbye".

The image generated several million organic impressions and an engagement rate of 26 per cent, all without using paid media. The gaming community went into a frenzy, constantly asking if Brawl Stars was gone for good or would be reborn. The campaign prompted tens of thousands of social posts, memes, conspiracy theory videos, songs, online petitions and a trending hashtag, #dontkillbrawlstars.

During a YouTube Live Stream, Supercell revealed that Brawl Stars was going global, and posted an image of the characters coming back with the sun rising behind them. This image earned a higher engagement rate, with 27 per cent.

After confirming the global launch of Brawl Stars, Waste and Supercell created content that thanked all the OBs (Original Brawlers) who had played the game during its beta-testing and offered pre-registration for the global launch. Additionally, Supercell and Waste lured in new players by sharing sign up rates in different areas, increasing competition.

In December of last year, Supercell held a global launch event in Helsinki, where Waste Creative “brawlified” Supercell’s influencers, by turning them into their own customized Brawl Stars characters. The influencers posted on social media, increasing the launch’s online engagement. Waste also shot and edited footage of the launch event for Instagram Stories, which led one in three of Supercell’s Instagram followers to ask questions during a live AMA session.

According to Waste, the campaign triggered 5m pre-registration sign ups in eight hours and dramatically increased the game’s social channels ranging from 188 per cent on Instagram to 194 per cent on YouTube. Brawl Stars also became the number one iPhone app in 32 countries, earning over $10m its first week.

Brawlstars - Global Launch Case Study from Waste Creative on Vimeo.

Ryan, Lighton, community manager at Supercell said, "Waste have been an invaluable strategic, creative and production partner right from the earliest days of Brawl Stars. Their no-nonsense approach to content creation and intrinsic knowledge of the game has been integral to the Brawl stars journey, from before we went into beta through to global launch. Waste have been there with us every step of the way."