Binaifer Dulani

It's day two and year one of the Entertainment Lions for Gaming. What should we expect?

Our guest author beams her thoughts from the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.

The event organisers at Cannes Lions introduced a whole new category with the Entertainment Lions for Gaming - and it was an instant hit with over 600 entries worldwide, in its very first year. This is indicative of the power of the gaming industry which is bigger than Hollywood. 

And I had the opportunity to speak with, an expert marketeer in the gaming industry, Çagla Büyükkoç Sütlüoglu, representing Turkey in the See It Be It 2023 cohort, founder and CEO Walrus, ex-Creative Lead, Garena - one of the biggest gaming companies worldwide. 

Çagla Büyükkoç Sütlüoglu
Çagla Büyükkoç Sütlüoglu

Here's what she had to say:

"I'm surprised this is the first year for the Entertainment Lion in Gaming. I'd expect this to be introduced much earlier - as it has been done in many other award shows." 

"Gaming is one of the biggest markets with huge ad spends, especially when it comes to mobile gaming - in markets such as MENA, Turkey, Pakistan and India. Ad spends in Turkey is especially skewed towards the gaming category. This is an engaged community and we should only expect exponential brand spends in the future. "

"But even before I talk about my favourite campaign from this year, I'd like to reflect a little bit about how certain games that are a massive hit within the Eastern markets, such as Clash of Clans, Free Fire, and PubG, don't resonate as well with Western audiences."

"This has many socio-economic undertones. Since these games are available free of cost on mobile phones, they are a form of escapism, especially for children within these Eastern markets who look at them as a way to live vicariously."

"However, the West is more privileged, more elitist and the gaming market has had more time to evolve. Naturally, games that demand more computer power and are more immersive are sought after - leaving mobile gaming (especially the games mentioned above behind.) Let's put things in perspective: Gaming has had 40 years to ripen up in the West. Legends of Zelda, Mario and Worms - these games are cult classics because they have lores and easter eggs."

"And so, this brings me to my favourite campaign and the Grand Prix winner - Clash from the Past for Clash of Clans by Wieden+Kennedy. I believe this campaign tried to tap into the potential of the Western market by doing two things in a genius manner."

"First, by creating a story and then rallying a community around it. They have analysed deeply what has made several games cult classics. To the extent that they created a (mythical) feud between the co-founders. And the second - employing self-deprecation in the form of a mockumentary- making it meta-fictional. This is a fantastic campaign for marketeers to study and grow this category."

The Gaming Lion is a nod to the incredible canvas for creativity this platform provides and here's opening India raises the bar for this category and exploits its full potential.

The author is founding member and creative, Talented.

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