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Issue #47 - EA's The Sims on TikTok
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Talking about games this week we were surprised that people are still surprised just how big gaming is. It’s huge in terms of numbers of participants, it generates colossal revenues and it has a significant impact on culture.
And it’s no surprise it’s big on Tiktok. The official Roblox account has 5.6m followers and 23m likes. The official Fortnite account has 5.1m followers and 20m likes. And Minecraft hashtag has 140bn views.
The Sims is nowhere near - 214k followers and 714k likes. But they are building their presence.
As part of the promotion for their Simlish Sessions concert series, TikTok has a key role. Singer Bebe Rexha - who has 6.5m followers and 95.7 likes - teamed up with The Sims to promote the news she was headlining the event. How? By reinventing karaoke for the TikTok generation.
Singing her song Sabotage in Simlish she invited TikTokers to duet with her - in Simlish. This video was bought as a TopView ad - and that seems to have been enough to kickstart this activity. The song Sabotage has been used in 6500 videos. The video (and the duets) have been seen 123m times and the #SimlishSessions hashtag has over 10bn views. All in a couple of weeks.
And given how players can experience the Sims Sessions event will we see Sims merchandise appearing on TikTok in the coming weeks?
During Sims Sessions, players can explore the event with options to create their best festival fashions, camp out and shop exclusive digital merchandise featuring Bebe Rexha, Glass Animals and Joy Oladokun.
It’s another example of how using Creators and the grammar of TikTok enables highly effective marketing. Any brand can learn from this (and should be taking gaming seriously too).
Compared to the industries well known for classic advertising, the video game industry is very young. There are fewer decades of precedent, best practices, and traditions. Some might say that allows more creative thinking. This TikTok campaign promoting The Sims is something I would not expect to see from a FMCG, automotive, or retail brand.
To break it down, a video game company is launching their latest game through a virtual concert involving both famous musicians and smaller creators. This creative talent is also creating TikTok videos that encourage people to sing along to a famous Bebe Rexha song, but in a version sung in the fictional in-game language of Simlish. It’s a pretty creative campaign and from the 10 Billion views of the #SimlishSessions hashtag, the idea seems to be resonating.
The idea of singing in ‘Simlish’ is kind of an inside joke if you have played The Sims before. The characters in the game don’t speak a real language, but instead communicate through this unique gibberish called ‘Simlish.’ This clearly wasn’t just a campaign rubber stamped by a marketing director who has never played the game before. This connects with the community authentically and these type of ‘Simlish’ promotional musical covers have actually been used in previous campaigns.
While I’m not a huge Sims fan, both the TikTok campaign and the broader live virtual festival seem like an activation created for true fans, which also helps drive purchases of the new ‘Cottage Living’ expansion pack. Active Sims fans will surely be singing along to these songs and for new customers, the idea of a song in this weird new language will definitely grab their attention. It’s a full-funnel marketing campaign for the Metaverse.
The Sims is one of the best-selling video games of all time, which makes The Sims an important asset for its parent company Electronic Arts (EA). It has transcended most games by appealing across a broader range of ages and demographics. The game has spinoffs including merchandise, a reality TV show, and a cancelled live-action film. With this kind of creative marketing that takes advantage of modern trends (TikTok, Creators, the Metaverse), we can expect continued success for the franchise.
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