Spotted! A dystopian arcade to create box office buzz

Warner Brothers Pictures Canada promoted the release of Ready Player One through some good, old-fashioned gaming.

It’s not often you see a good old fashioned arcade these days. But that’s exactly what was seen outside the Rogers Arena in Vancouver recently – and it was admittedly tough to miss.

On the outside, the activation looked like a slightly dystopian apartment complex, made from stacks of shipping containers, mirroring the standard of living depicted in action and sci-fi flick Ready Player One, set in a not-so-distant 2045. And inside the complex was an arcade outfitted with retro games like Pac-Man and Bubble Bobble, as well as more futuristic VR experiences and games.

The activation was a stunt on behalf of Warner Brothers Pictures Canada to promote the film. It took advantage of the buzz surrounding the Junos in Vancouver to draw a massive crowd and promote the movie through some good, old-fashioned gaming. The inside was also decked out with classic rock-and-roll and film posters, from Billy Idol to Star Wars.

OMD led the media buy, while Rooftop Agency led the stunt, activation, multimedia content, influencer relations and the overall strategy, and Your Brand took the lead on social and blogger integration.

The hashtag #604Stacks (referring to the complex depicted in the novel and film) was promoted on social media in order to drum up enthusiasm for the activation, and Rooftop engaged bloggers and influencers (including Canadian icon Rush, which has a song that appears in the trailer).

The promoted trend on social generated 1.8 million impressions and an engagement rate of 93%, with the video viewed more than 724,000 times, tracking a 38.7% view rate. Overall social impressions totalled seven million, with 1.8 million video views and a total reach of 2.2 million. Most of the engagement came from Twitter. Additional promotions through the Juno channels reached an additional two million users across platforms, and the blogger program reached 85,000 people.

Traditional media coverage included eTalk, CTV News, Virgin Radio and more.

As for Ready Player One, it debuted in the #1 spot in Canada (pulling in $50 million domestically), which it held for two consecutive weeks. To date, it has grossed more than $475 million worldwide.