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Giant snakes create share-worthy buzz at Comic-Con

In an online world full of click-through rates, attribution, and constant noise, putting something tangible in front of a consumer can still have a huge impact, especially if that something is a giant snake.

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We took this idea to Square Enix when it came time to promote their new game at Comic-con 2018 in San Diego. Shadow of the Tomb Raider, the third installment in the modern reboot of the Tomb Raider series, had a legion of fans waiting for the release, and the game developer wanted to do something memorable.

But Comic-Con is a crazy place. With cosplayers dressed as everybody, panels on everything, and excitement everywhere, there is no shortage of shiny things vying for attention. Just in gaming, Shadow of the Tomb Raider faced off against huge names like Spiderman, Call of Duty, and Pokemon.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider is the finale of Lara’s origin story and the biggest release in the history of the franchise,” said Jon Grant, associate director of product marketing for Square Enix. “We owed our fans an equally epic experience at Comic-Con.”

So Square Enix partnered with JMP-Creative to produce and execute the event, and we led the strategy. The activation wrapped around a simple question: What makes this game special?

“In Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Lara is tested to see if she really has what it takes to be the Tomb Raider,” said Katy Hornaday, executive creative director here at Barkley. “We decided to test gamers everywhere, to see if they too have what it takes to be the Tomb Raider.”

The result? An event where fans entered a wild jungle environment, play-tested the game in a pit with a 14-foot anaconda, and ate scorpions and silkworms for a chance at prizes. Attendance reached over 9200 people, three times the expected goal of 3000, covered by SyFy and IGN.DSC07508

By bringing the Tomb Raider experience to life, the strategy celebrated the spirit of the adventure that made the game famous—proof that to stand out in a busy world, one should never underestimate the power of giant snakes to create a share-worthy buzz.

Contributing writer: Caleb Ledbetter

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jennifer mazi

November 1, 2018

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