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Special Project

Special Project
From the 15th Annual Shorty Awards

The Callisto Protocol Launch Campaign with NFL and NBA Stars

Finalist in Brand Awareness Campaign


Rebel was tasked with creating a campaign to raise awareness of The Callisto Protocol, a survival horror action video game, that would reach casual gamers through unexpected partnerships, authentic voices, and compelling content. All of The Callisto Protocol’s marketing efforts around the game launch focused on targeting core gamers.  We were challenged with developing an entirely new marketing campaign and strategy designed to reach a more mainstream gaming audience.. 


In just 4 short weeks, we identified 8 NFL and NBA stars who were passionate about survival horror games – and then scripted, filmed, edited, and distributed 58 unique pieces of video content + graphics in conjunction with the game launch.


Three main objectives for this campaign were to increase exposure and desire for the launch of The Callisto Protocol, to create a diversified content mix, and to leverage new channels and voices. With these goals in mind, we identified an overlap between horror gamers and sports fans.  We then created authentic content to reach this audience, and met The Calisto Protocol’s crucial need for an unexpected mainstream marketing campaign. 


The idea was to identify talent to help promote the game to a previously untapped casual gaming audience during the launch window.  We encouraged each athlete to play The Callisto Protocol as if no one was watching, reacting naturally and showing emotion, which came through in the quality and performance of the content.

Strategy and Execution

We identified an overlap between casual gamers and sports fans.  Through our insights tools we discovered that there are roughly 42.5 million survival horror gamers in the US. Furthermore, 2 out of 3 of these gamers follow NFL football and/or NBA basketball. These gamers are also 2.4x more likely to watch NFL and/or NBA basketball on a weekly basis. 


With this audience overlap in mind, we began researching professional athletes in the NFL and NBA (two most popular sports in the US) who are gamers themselves, and have an interest in survivor horror specifically. We narrowed down the list to the following 8 athletes:

After formalizing agreements with these athletes, we began an expedited production development process.  Our team turned around nearly 60 pieces of custom content in just over four weeks, flying around the US to film with our talent in their homes, using a bare-bones production crew of just 3 people, and a dev-kit Playstation 5 with a beta version of the game preinstalled. 


We had each athlete watch a pre-recorded video from the previous athlete who played the game just days before, offering tips and warnings for what they were about to experience.  We then filmed each athlete playing the game and reacting to the tense & brutal action in a funny, intense, and authentic manner - allowing each individual athlete’s unique personality shine through. 


After getting a chance to play the game for about an hour, we asked each athlete to describe their game experience.  We also encouraged the athlete to record their own warning video for the next athlete who was set to embark on their gaming journey. In typical athlete fashion, these individuals became very competitive with one another, always challenging the next person to try to progress further in the game. 


Over the following weeks, we then edited the content, interspersing real game footage from each athlete with their reaction, creating an array of videos tailored for each social channel. Our 58 unique pieces of content were used on Instagram, Twitter, Tiktok, and Youtube. Not only was content posted cross-platform by the athlete talent, but it was also posted by the brand on their channels. We came up with a strategic posting schedule across a two-week window around the launch of the game, in order to create a sense of the fear of missing out among viewers. We wanted this audience to be inundated with Callisto content to make them feel as if they were outsiders by not purchasing the game.


We created 58 unique pieces of content that lived cross platform on Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok. 

Quantitative success: 


Qualitative success: 


"Rebel understood the creative purpose and tonality of The Callisto Protocol immediately, which was reflected in their creative where several times the initial cut of a video needed no changes. Thanks to Rebel this campaign was collaborative, painless and the execution was fantastic” 


This demonstrates that our client was beyond satisfied with the product they hired us to deliver - especially in such a tight window.


Video for The Callisto Protocol Launch Campaign with NFL and NBA Stars

Entrant Company / Organization Name

Rebel Ventures Inc., Striking Distance Studios


Entry Credits