Having taken a character out of a video game and put him in the "real" world, Pringles is now doing the opposite. The Kellogg-owned brand is giving one person the opportunity to appear as a Non Playable Character (NPC) in a video game. It's the latest iteration of its "Stay in the Game" gaming-theme campaign from Grey London,
From today, Pringles will invite applications from fans to appear as a non-playable Pringles vending machine re-stocker in the video game Train Sim World, the train simulation game available with Xbox Game Pass. The NPC will be paid an actual, real-world salary of 20,000 pounds ($24,270) and will remain in the game for at least a year, starting this September.
To support the launch, Grey London has produced a series of social spots showing existing NPCs in Train Sim World being less than happy about the fact that a human is going to become an NPC in their game and be paid for it. Those interested in applying are invited to post a creative video or selfie with a Pringles can explaining why they would be the best Pringles vending machine refiller NPC in under 50 words on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook including the hashtag #PringlesStayInTheGame.
Pringles will randomly select 50 applications and put them onto a shortlist, where each will be judged on its creativity, originality, and rationale as to why they wouldl make the best Pringles vending-machine-refilling NPC. One successful applicant will then be chosen, and their likeness will be virtually reproduced in 3D so they appear as themselves in Train Sim World.
The competition, which includes social ads, in-game advertising, out-of-home, PR and live stream on Twitch elements, is running across Europe. Applications are open to the core markets of U.K., France and Germany, with additional promotion in Italy and Spain. An outdoor promotional element kicked off today in London, with a talking vending machine appearing in Shoreditch's Boxpark to "interview" potential candidates.
The campaign, part of the wider "Mind Popping" platform that Grey created for Pringles, was developed in partnership with Dovetail Games and Xbox and was several years in the making. According to Javier Campopiano, global creative partner at Grey, Pringles chose Train Sim World is a highly popular game that's also a "quirky" choice for consumers.
"This is a simple idea in a way, so it has to be simple enough, but also quirky enough," he said in an interview with Ad Age. "Also in this game, NPCs are super important. It's a train simulator, so having all those NPCs around is what provides that sense of reality."
As a follow-up to "Frank," Grey's award-winning 2021 campaign that took a zombie out of Xbox video game "West of Dead" and placed him in a series of live action commercials, the campaign evolves the brand's connection with gaming, which originally came from the insight that as a non-greasy and less messy chip brand, Pringles is the ideal snack for gamers using their fingers.
However, Campopiano added, the campaign is designed to have wider appeal beyond a gaming audience. "I’m pretty sure that people who are not gamers will also apply for this," he said. "It shows that the brand understands gaming but also that it understands consumers in general. In the context of the Great Resignation, for example, this campaign is offering you to get paid inside a video game."