In our weekly round up series, we’re taking a look at Microsoft Studios’ Hunt The Truth campaign.
With the launch of the Microsoft Xbox, back in 2001, the challenge was; how could this new console contend with the existing giants. A flagship title with a larger-than-life protagonist was a must. Halo was this game.
There have been five first-person-shooter titles featuring the main character, Master Chief, spin-off FPS Halo 3: ODST and Halo: Reach, a real-time-strategy game (Halo Wars) and two iOS games.
Previous popular marketing campaigns have leveraged alternative reality games (ARGs) that demand engagement from Halo‘s eager fans. I Love Bees famously promoted Halo 2 by creating an innocuous website that appeared to be hacked by an artificial intelligence – Halo‘s AI character Cortana – in order to leak information and build hype in the run up to the sequel’s launch.
Hunt The Truth
Hunt The Truth is an across-the-line campaign for the Halo 5 Guardians game, due for release in October 2015.
The Tumblr website follows the audio podcasts of journalist Benjamin Giraud, as he conducts his own investigation into the legendary soldier Master Chief – the games’ protagonist and humanity’s hero.
According to Microsoft Studios, the Hunt The Truth audio-logs on iTunes and Soundcloud have a combined total of 2.15 million listens (as of writing).
Hunt The Truth has been involved in over 83,000 conversations online since it’s initial reveal on March 30th.
These conversations are taking place across a variety of qualified platforms online.
The hashtag #HUNTtheTRUTH has achieved over 137 million impressions on Twitter
The Hunt The Truth Tumblr relies primarily on SoundCloud file ‘podcasts’, told from the perspective of Giraud. These are supported by images and audio snippets that garnish the narrative with visual cues that reinforce the Halo universe.
The campaign has three promotional videos – the initial bullet teaser trailer (Above), and the two, parallel videos that unveil the two sides to the Halo 5 Guardians story. So far, these three trailers have a combined total of nearly 13,000,000 views on YouTube.
Voice acting talent includes Tracey Keach, Cobie Smulders (Avengers: Age of Ultron, How I Met Your Mother), Keegan-Michael Key (Key and Peele), and Kumail Nanjiani (Silicon Valley).
The game series’ social channels do not feature Hunt The Truth social skins, or much other content to promote this campaign yet.
Following issues with the online multiplayer aspects of Halo: The Master Chief Collection, Microsoft Studios faced a public backlash to overcome when it came to building anticipation for the first Halo title available exclusively on the Xbox One console.
The gaming community are an avid, consistently online audience. Halo has a reputation for the sort of digital guerrilla marketing that deepens the mythos behind their best-selling title.
Hunt The Truth lives on Tumblr and in television spots, ignoring the larger social platforms in favour of a subliminal, come-and-find-it message that invites fans into a world of misdirection and lies as it lays the ground for the latest instalment in the Halo franchise.
It seems counter-intuitive, to ignore the likes of Facebook, Twitter et al. and hide your campaign in one corner of the web but, understanding their target audience’s penchant for an easter egg ARG, Microsoft Studios know what they’re doing.
Over To You
What do you think? Have you spotted a clever campaign?