The balding, wide-grinning Dr. T is the mad scientist who regularly torments players of Supercell's combat strategy game "Boom Beach." But he'll be wreaking havoc on them in an epic way come January 15, when he'll unveil a top secret super weapon within the game, designed to obliterate them to bits.
To announce it, he took over the airwaves on Christmas Day in true super villain style, with a spot via Barton
Since then Dr. T has continued to bombard players with more taunts online, in social, broadcast and out of home. Yet his style clearly is less Darth and more Dr. Evil.
"Scientifically, he thinks he's a genius and he's right; comedically, he also thinks he's a genius but he is wrong," said Barton ECD Ian Reichenthal. In a follow-up video, for example, he teases viewers to "come closer" for a hint at how to defeat him, only to throw sand in their faces. In an out-of-home ad he teases, "You'll never outsmart me. But you might outstupid me."
Supercell has also tapped social media super fans of the game to help rally the troops. For example, one mobile game vlogger, Nickatnyte, received a giant package teasing the weapon's arrival. It included a countdown clock to the big day, a Dr. T music box that plays a "menacing" tune and a personalized pack of wipes reading, "The only thing sadder than watching an adult lose in 'Boom Beach' is watching an adult cry after losing in 'Boom Beach.'"
According to Barton Account Director Kate Faux, "Supercell asked us for a truly integrated campaign that could work in any type of media we could possibly think of."
That thinking led them to a new, unxpected place -- inside the game itself. "For me what's most exciting about this campaign is that we actually integrated the idea with their gameplay for 'Boom Beach' so that the campaign ends in-game," said Barton Creative Director Matty Smith.
"In previous campaigns, we've always been focused on the main campaign idea and extending it into the media that had been purchased," said Ms. Faux. "For this campaign, once we had the idea we tracked down the media that would support it best throughout TV, OOH, social channels, and digital placements."
The entire campaign hinges on Dr. T's new mega weapon, culminating in the January 15 in-game event, all created hand-in-hand between Barton F. Graf and Supercell.
The campaign itself was developed in a unique, highly collaborative process between Barton and Supercell."We were working together all the time, not just with the marketing people but also the game team," said Mr. Reichenthal. "With other [clients] from the past, I wouldn't have talked with the people actually making the product, and with this we did that a lot."
The production process was intense -- not just because of the animation involved in the spots directed by Kirk Kelley of HouseSpecial, but also because it involved integrating with the game itself.
The biggest challenge? "Once everybody got excited about this idea, what we could do with media, nobody wanted to stop," said Ms. Faux. "Then comes the realization that you can't do everything, so the big challenge was knowing when to say, 'I think we have enough.'"