W Hotels is the latest brand to tap into gaming for its marketing efforts.
The hotel chain has launched a retro, arcade-style video game called “Belle the Bear” to tout the opening of its latest hotel in Bellevue, Seattle.
“We wanted to celebrate the opening of W Bellevue in a way that would reflect the tech-centric city it’s located in, and the atmosphere of the new hotel itself,” Anthony Ingham, global brand leader at W Hotels Worldwide, told Business Insider. “We wanted to build excitement, engagement and do something truly innovative.”
Users can play the Frogger-style adventure game on a micro site through desktop, tablet or mobile, helping the character Belle move from the bottom to the top while overcoming the obstacles on her way. Players must avoid everything from fish to bees while collecting cocktails and W-embellished objects to rack up the points, with the five highest scorers in the running to win prizes including a complimentary three-day stay at the hotel.
The Marriott-owned brand worked with experiential marketing agency Pen&Public to bring the game to life and will be promoting it using videos, photos and GIFs from the game across its social channels. W Hotels is also partnering with influencers in the gaming space, as well as encouraging users to share their scores online using the game’s built-in social sharing options.
W Hotels is hardly the first brand to have experimented with gaming. Last summer, Gatorade launched a Serena Williams-inspired video game ad tied to the US Open on ESPN’s Snapchat Discover channel. The ad resulted in a 14.5% swipe-up rate, with the average user spending more than three minutes playing the game. More recently, Pepsi launched “Pepsi Summer Quest,” a Temple Run-style game within Snapchat.
W Hotels believes that the game will help the brand engage not only with the burgeoning gaming community, but a broader audience. That is also why it gave the game a decidedly retro feel.
“A game like this is nostalgic for some Gen-Xers and millennials who know games like Frogger and the popular Crossy Road, but simple enough for everyone to enjoy,” said Ingham. “Video games aren’t just for basement-dwelling teens anymore — they’re for everyone. And we’re trying to reach everyone.”
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