Embark on an enriching voyage through the multifaceted career of Rey Tiempo, the Head of Creatives and Experience at Digitas Philippines. In this comprehensive blog, he unveils the secrets behind the Philippines’ first-ever Cannes Lions in Gaming. Get ready for an immersive experience as he provides valuable insights on engaging the gaming community and simplifying the creative process. Welcome to the creative cosmos of Rey Tiempo!
Rey delves into the profound impact of mobile gaming on the broader gaming market. Tracing the evolution of handheld devices, he explores the fusion of gaming and communication gadgets. According to him, the rise of mobile gaming is rewriting the rules, potentially leading to a merger of the handheld and mobile gaming markets.
Cultural Factors and Advertising Strategies: Decoding the Philippine Market
In the Philippines primarily, the one significant cultural factor is and always will be “economics”. Decision-making around gaming (and really, for everything else) revolves around the spending capacity of the market. As technology advances, the gaming industry has witnessed a substantial surge in both numbers and expenditures, particularly during and after the pandemic. While the console, PC, and along with them the physical and digital games-buying market have seen increasing numbers (and are the biggest spenders, generally) especially within and coming out of the pandemic, the numbers indicate that growth in terms of engagement, reach, time spent and advertising/ marketing strategies will see much more significance in the mobile gaming market. This stems from the business models most mobile games have adapted and are expertly implementing, and fine-tuning through the years.
Free-to-play mobile games emerge as the champions, drawing players of all ages into the fold, from casual strollers in the gaming realm to hyper-casual enthusiasts. In-game activities, like unlocking extras and in-game purchases rake in the most time spent, and garner the most eyeballs (and thumbs!)
Advertisers must understand: that gaming environments form are relatively closed-loop systems for players. Within these games, gamers find their escape, refuge, solace, and entertainment. Real-world brands risk disrupting this immersive experience, and only the most well-thought-out, authentic brand campaigns will get the most welcome reception. The platform is built out of passion- and without a display of similar, authentic enthusiasm from brands, the risk of alienation remains high.
Success Stories in Gaming Integration: Cannes Lions Highlights
Rey shares insights from his experience at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, with a particular focus on gaming integration. In a serendipitous turn of events, our avid gamer found himself at this year’s Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, not just as a spectator but as a member of the press. Having been a Cannes regular, this experience was uniquely different—immersed in the heart of creativity, covering works, winners, juries, and the personalities shaping the industry.
Adding to the excitement was the debut of a new Lion category, close to his heart – Entertainment in Gaming! Rewind to 2012, Rey shares an amusing history with Cannes Lions and gaming: In his initial visit to Cannes, he won a brand-new game console from a booth raffle. This seemingly delightful incident played a pivotal role in steering him toward exploring the intersection of gaming and marketing.
Twelve years later, Cannes Lions not only embraced gaming with a dedicated category but also witnessed Rey covering the event and celebrating as part of the team winning the country’s first-ever Lions in gaming. From raffle winnings to standing on the iconic Cannes Lions stage and observing a stellar lineup of winners, it’s a journey that has come full circle. Being an inaugural category meant that gaming, at least in the minds of Cannes Lions and in the creative advertising and marketing fields, has much room to grow and evolve.
This year, as the Gaming Lions took center stage, various brands have begun making significant strides in activating creatively impressive and fresh work within the gaming space.
Oreo’s twist on doing promos in gaming:
One of the biggest instances of true integration between the entertainment worlds emerges through the collaboration of FIFA 23 and Ted Lasso. Previous experiences with mods in sports games were often the result of exceptionally adept programmers working in unofficial capacities. However, this particular collaboration is as official as it gets with the melding of two highly popular entertainment franchises at the peak of their success (pun very much intended). Beyond its official status, it stands as a triumph of metafiction, showcasing an impressive play on “realism” and “reality.”
Data and Analytics in Gaming Marketing: A Pivotal Role
Rey underlines the pivotal role of data and analytics in today’s advertising landscape, particularly within gaming marketing. The ubiquity of data is acknowledged, asserting that everything is information. Understanding where to look and, more importantly, how to interpret data allows one to have the world literally in the palm of their hand. Beyond the sheer abundance of data, the real challenge for marketers, Rey contends, lies in authentically interpreting the information and deriving the most genuine insights. In the gaming world, authenticity becomes paramount, demanding marketers to connect with the gaming audience in a truly genuine manner.
Philippines’ First-Ever Cannes Lions in Gaming: The Anatomy of Success
Work as monumental to the GamingxMarketing world like this can only be the result of careful planning and the expertise of not just one individual, not just one group, not even just one agency, but the integration of agencies – and they did it through Publicis Groupe Philippines’ “Power of One” philosophy. Through the combined disciplines of Digitas, MSL, Leo Burnett, Prodigious and equally important, their own gaming communities (as one of the jury members said, an idea like this can only come from a group with a combined 1,000++ hours of playtime!)
Curiously enough, the idea started out as something very, very different (it was a complicated promo, involving complicated tech and it involved talking to the biggest publishers and developers!) Through the expertise of more and more people involved, they were able to steer it towards a more budget-friendly approach (as with everything in the Philippines, economics!) and more importantly, a clever way around challenges.
The success of the Philippines’ first-ever Cannes Lions in the Entertainment Lions in Gaming category unfolds with “Unbranded Menu” by McDonald’s standing out as a groundbreaking campaign. This initiative challenges prevailing notions about the imperative need for substantial budgets and cutting-edge technology in gaming campaigns. All it required was one strong, insightful, gaming-endemic idea.
The first breakthrough dawned upon them when the realization struck that McDonald’s was essentially reclaiming what had always been rightfully theirs! For avid gamers, this concept resonates instantly –whenever game developers need to feature fast food or burger joints that mimic those found in real life (a common occurrence in open-world games and various other genres), they instinctively parody McDonald’s food and branding, because it’s THAT recognizable and iconic. For gamers traversing virtual landscapes, encountering McDonald’s-like food is an inevitable occurrence, albeit presented in a parodied yet unmistakable manner. So there was no need for elaborate (and expensive!) partnerships with game publishers – McDonald’s “unbranded” branding was already deeply embedded in these game worlds! It was really up to them to REMIND gamers about this simple, hiding-in-plain-sight fact!
This paved the way for the second breakthrough – extending the concept to social media and engaging gaming communities. By collaborating with community spokespersons and “celebrities”, (not necessarily the biggest, but even diving into micro and hyper-targeted Twitch and Discord groups), the team successfully connected with the dedicated followers of gamers. The strategy involved mobilizing them for a “hunt” of McDo food-alikes within the games their communities were already immersed in, transforming the activity into a mini-game of sorts. Crucially, the approach respected gamers’ experience, ensuring they weren’t pulled away from their games, (this is most important, for brands; marketing efforts shouldn’t force gamers out of the game experience.) The task was simple – gamers just needed to screengrab the food-alikes they found and post them on their social feeds (again, behavior they were already engaged in!)
In the final breakthrough, involved more of the creative process. The team navigated the creative process, wrestling with the influence of “traditional” advertising and marketing backgrounds. Some members felt the instinct to layer more elements into the campaign, following the teachings of classic marketing. Along the journey, the team had to reinforce the commitment to maintaining organic simplicity and resist the temptation to overcomplicate a fundamentally straightforward idea. Doubt lingered with questions like, “Is this really it? It can’t be this simple, right?” becoming a recurring refrain. However, simplicity prevailed and rightly so.
And this has been validated time and time again by the jury of the biggest award shows praising the work – “We love the simplicity!” It was that key factor that has helped the work win the hearts of award show juries. So yes, keep everything simple!
In the vibrant interplay of creativity, gaming, and marketing, Rey Tiempo’s insights light our path. Embracing simplicity and authenticity fueled the triumph of the Philippines’ first Cannes Lions in Gaming. As we navigate this cosmic journey, let’s cherish the elegance of simplicity and the power of authentic connections. In the vast expanse of innovation, they remain our guiding stars.
Read our exclusive interview: Inside Rey Tiempo’s Gaming Odyssey: A Tale of Creativity and Strategy