To raise awareness and increase buzz for the launch of the Hogwarts Legacy video game, we developed and executed a content-first campaign to reach new audiences. To do this, we partnered up with Weston McKennie, a known super fan of the Wizarding World, who celebrates his goals as if he was casting a spell with a wand.
We produced a content series (including 3 unique content pieces) aimed at building excitement for the release of the game through an authentic voice. In this series, we told the story of Weston’s fandom, which hadn’t been publicly told before, and showed his genuine reaction of excitement and happiness when trying out the game for the first time.
The main goals for this campaign were to increase the game’s exposure and desire (whilst also bringing unique third party validation of it through a true fan), to create truly authentic content, and to gradually build hype towards launch date (starting at the time of the world cup, in order to create connectivity and relevance to the world of soccer).
For this project, some of our team members who are avid soccer fans identified Weston McKennie as a great collaborator and voice to help promote the game, due to his love for Harry Potter and gaming. We then did some research on the overlap of soccer fans and open world gaming, to ensure there was a strong strategic fit. We quickly found out that 88% of open world gamers are soccer fans, and that this audience was 1.4x more likely to follow athletes on social media. Furthermore, they are also 1.4x more likely to discover new brands or products through celebrity endorsements.
With this information, we knew that it strategically made sense to build a campaign with McKennie. We got in touch with his agent, who we have a good relationship with from previous projects,, and managed to negotiate a reduced fee on behalf of our client (Warner Bros), as McKennie was thrilled to be a part of this project.
Our creative director did some research on Weston McKennie and his love of the Harry Potter franchise, noticing that although it was very well known that Weston was a big fan, no one really knew where this fandom came from. We knew that telling this story would be compelling, and would create an obvious connection between the game and the player, especially for those who maybe weren’t aware of Weston’s passion for the Wizarding World..
Being an avid gamer, and with the goal of creating hype for the launch of the game, we also decided that we would spend most of the time we had to shoot with McKennie letting him explore the game and simply enjoy himself. We knew from previous content that Weston is very good in front of a camera, and thought it would be best to let him just hop on the game and have fun, whilst trying to provide some commentary and context. This made for some authentic content full of genuine reactions. We did this in the comfort of his own home, knowing it would be an environment in which he would be completely comfortable, thus giving us the most comfortable version of himself. The whole time we were at his house for this shoot, you could tell he was having fun and enjoying himself, which was reflected in the content that was created.
Overall, this campaign was well thought of from a strategic point of view, and was perfectly executed, as things went as we had envisioned them. Thanks to this, the campaign was a great success.
We created 3 unique content pieces that lived on Weston McKennie’s Instagram and Twitter channels.
3.3M+ views across Weston’s channels
Estimated 2x ROI in estimated digital media value - which was $490K
All 3 content pieces were in the Top 5 best performing branded content on Weston's Instagram in 2022 and 2023 (including six of his other World Cup partners). When looking only at branded video content, the 3 content pieces were the best performing in this time period
164,000 likes across all content pieces
Successful talent selection for the project - Weston McKennie was so excited to take part in this campaign, that he did it for a lower fee than he normally works for, and ended up filming with us for over an hour more than he was supposed to, as he was so engaged with the game. Many comments on the content also highlighted that he was the perfect spokesman for this video game given his fandom for the Wizarding World, and his passion for gaming.
Quote from our client Jose Alejandro Santillan (Branded Content & Partnerships at Warner Bros): “From start to finish, Rebel's meticulous approach and nimble execution brought our vision to life, and led to a successful campaign. Furthermore, working with top tier talent at reasonable costs speaks volumes to the respect and reach Rebel has within the sports industry worldwide.”
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