Mindshare: KFC Gamers' Playground


Mindshare: KFC Gamers' Playground

Transforming 5,000 stores into ghost-hunting battlegrounds for gamers

Gaming has become a major passion point for young adults in China. With 24% year-on-year growth in gaming among consumers between the ages of 16 and 30 in China, many brands have started collaborating with leading games to speak to this audience. However, many partnerships have been critiqued for taking the fun out of the game and ruining the experience.

Onmyoji, a game based on Japanese ghost hunting stories, captured attention in the spring of 2017 and had over 10 million monthly active users within two months. Onmyoji is a role-playing battle game where gamers hunt down ghosts and then turn them into secret weapons. KFC wanted to bring added value to fans of the game – not just exploit their love for it.

KFC transformed 5,000 of its stores into real ghost-hunting battlegrounds for gamers. To convince gamers to go to KFC stores, it incorporated 5,000 KFC locations into the game’s location-based service system. Gamers could find the most sought after, limited edition ghosts only in KFC stores. Once in store, gamers could invite friends playing the game to hunt down in-store ghosts.

Instead of using a typical redeeming system, an augmented reality system was created with the developers of the game. Gamers could scan key scenes of the game, another gamer’s screen, or table mats in KFC stores and special ghosts would emerge in augmented reality format.

KFC printed supersize versions of scenes, and put them in KFC stores and metro station exits leading to its stores. KFC stores were decorated with elements from the game, cosplayers, and more. On social platforms, they extended the plot of the games and created additional comics.

The campaign was the largest gaming collaboration any brand has ever initiated in China.

Three million limited edition buckets sold out in three days, and sales of theme stores increased between 400 and 500 percent during the campaign period. Around 12 million enthusiastic gamers rushed to KFC stores for a chance to immerse in their favourite game. Fans waited for hours to get into the store and some stores were so packed that crowds had to be limited. The collaboration became a sensation on social media, with #KFCxOnmyoji viewed over 100 million times.

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