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The rise of Animal Crossing and how brands are trying to benefit.

I haven’t played video-games in a while. I have never been much of a video-game person actually. But few weeks ago, I came across a news link about a video-game called Animal Crossing. Up until then, I had never heard of the game.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons’ Sells 22.4M Copies Since March Release

International Business News

Nintendo posts 5-fold profit jump as ‘Animal Crossing’ sales top 22 million

Business Standard

I would later find out that Nintendo ended up selling close to 2 million copies of New Horizons just in Japan in merely three days! What explains such massive sales in the time of pandemic? The game itself.

In the game, players land on a deserted island after purchasing a getaway package. Their mission is to complete various odd tasks to transform the once-barren island into a bustling paradise filled with animal neighbors. The game has received wide acclaim for its slow-paced take on living.

HB

“The game honestly couldn’t have come out at a better time for Nintendo,” says James Whatley, strategy partner at Digitas UK. “It’s the most horrendous way to frame it, but it’s true.”

The Drum, Apr 2020

Animal Crossing has existed since 2001 but what its latest version – New Horizons, has achieved is unprecedented.

Now why am I talk about video-games when I don’t even play them myself?

Well because I am a video-creator.

When we think about video as a content, we often don’t realize that video-games are videos too – just that instead of merely watching the video, the viewers (gamers) are themselves in the video (through a character).

And when you have content, you have brands trying to advertise themselves. Animal Crossing seems to be everyone’s favourite this year – a lot of brands have been doing a lot creative things to make their presence felt in this virtual world.

Animal Crossing is emerging as a media channel for brands in lockdown

TheDrum.com

In July, KFC opened a branch inside the virtual world.

And this month, the mayonnaise brand Hellmanns took things a notch higher by going much beyond just opening a virtual outlet.

In fact this month has been crazy – a lot of brands have been showing off a lot of approaches.

Gillette for example has partnered with a celebrity graphic designer to create its “Skinclusive” Summer Line available inside the game!

If you want to check out some other such brand appraoches, Hollywood Branded has a fantastic collection of examples.

Art

The Getty Museum has created an Animal Crossing Art Generator, a database of renowned art pieces and their corresponding QR codes. The Metropolitan Museum of Art has also hopped on the bandwagon with their online collection…

HB

Talk Show!!

Inspired by the game’s customizing freedom, Gary Whitta, writer of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, created his own late-night talk show complete with celebrity guests and musical sets.

HB

Before I end this blog, let me bring you back from the virtual to the real world. Did you know of Rig Fit Adventure? Just watch the video below. Looks like so much fun (and sweat)!

The company [Nintendo] said it underestimated demand for “Ring Fit Adventure”, which uses a springy plastic “Ring-Con” so gamers can exercise while playing, leading to a worldwide shortage. Higher production has helped lift total sales to 4 million units, it said.

BS, 06 Aug 2020

That’s all for this blog! If you are a gamer and want to share something cool that I should check out, do let me know. I may not be into playing video games, but I am always interested in noting how culture and economics overlaps.

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