Following a lukewarm consumer response to the previous year's entry in the series, Activision needed to create a moment in time to rally and celebrate the Call of Duty community more than ever before. An innovative, social-first UGC platform was needed to generate unprecedented excitement and positivity around Call of Duty: WWII's core multiplayer offering, as well as its new franchise-first War Mode, leading up to the game's launch and beyond.
This program needed to successfully drive thousands of fans to participate through a strong call to action, and the results had to be massive to live up to the high standards of the world's biggest video game brand.
Call of Duty's player community is famously competitive, frequently combative, and endlessly cynical of the video game industry's perceived attempts to place fan content on a pedestal in the name of marketing. We knew our UGC program had to be player-centric and transparently celebratory of COD's highest levels of competitive play in order for the community to accept, socialize, and participate in the brand's big foray into showcasing its biggest and brightest fans.
So we knew to go where our audience wanted to be seen: Call of Duty's Instagram Stories, where a single username tag in one piece of content could immortalize your achievements in front of millions of your peers. We incentivized fans to put their best clips forward with prizing from top fan-favorite peripheral brands: Astro, DXRacer, and KontrolFreek. And we extended the program to Twitter, where exceptionally talented contributors were highlighted to over 2 million additional COD fans.
The culmination was #CODTopPlays: Call of Duty's largest UGC effort to date, built from the ground up to showcase the greatest gaming achievements of the franchise's fan community. Since its launch during the Call of Duty: WWII Multiplayer Beta in August 2017, the program has championed everyday fans through unique, custom-built "Top 5"-style video showcases, commemorating their incredible plays as inspiration to millions of Call of Duty fans, and simultaneously solving a major long-term challenge for the brand.
The community was invited to see more of each contributor's gameplay via Instagram Stories tags to their Instagram profiles, and Twitter highlights drove fan traffic to the full-length gameplay clips direct from the UGC creators themselves. This social-centric approach was a first for the franchise, leading to explosive results during the program's debut in the first week of Call of Duty: WWII's Multiplayer Beta.
Between the WWII Beta and launch alone, #CODTopPlays generated over 32MM video views, 7.6MM engagements, over 3,000 UGC submissions, and over 8,000 uses of the hashtag. Rallying and celebrating the player base at these key sentiment moments contributed to Call of Duty: WWII owning the most-positively received Beta and launch day in Call of Duty history, with brand sentiment reaching all-time record highs for the franchise during both key beats.
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