Sims3 Marketing Game — Sim to Win

Over the month of November we created and ran a nation-wide, college campus-based promotional game for the launch of Electronic Arts’ Sims3 Expansion pack, called Sim to Win. We were fortunate enough to work again with an energetic and trusting marketing team from Electronic Arts, led by the lovely Summer Bradley.
20 universities fielded a grand total of 412 teams, who jostled for position over several weeks, staging CRAZY creative video missions, sleuthing for online clues, and generally procrastinating on the mid-term front. The relatively small teams (mostly1-3 players) actively completed missions for 2 weeks, and followed that up with 2 additional weeks of online voting that kept the scores fluctuating. Teams shared links to their missions via Facebook and Twitter — to the tune of over 25,000 votes cast. In the end, 20 lucky collegians claimed their rightful spoils — shiny new laptops!
Our writers came up with top-notch Sims3-related mission content, and used a host of on-line tools (Google Earth, Streetview, Facebook, Twitter, etc) to enhance the overall web scavenger hunt experience. As with any product we create, there was a health dose of real-life play, and that’s where the wheat got separated from the chaff, talent-wise. One submission we really like was this:
The challenge below asked teams to create their own Sims avatar, but give the game controller to their disgruntled ex-bf/gf.

Sim to Win was a success on many fronts. It delivered numbers/eyeballs/impressions to the tune of:
50K pageviews 27K votes Average of 2.5 minutes spent on the ‘best of’ gallery
The goal of the game was to drum up excitement about Sims3 and to encourage active Sims devotees and non-gamers alike to experience and revel in Sims3. We got a nice mix of hardcore Simmers and newbies and we’re quite certain the game gave a fresh perspective on a first-person pc game. The game content was shared far past the 1,000 or so players, and what got communicated was pretty simple: people having a ton of fun with a game about a game.
The game engine that Finn built worked like a Swiss watch. Alli, Ian W and yours truly spent untold hours creating fake Facebook profiles, scouring photos of campuses and concocting hugely entertaining challenges that the teams digested at a 67% success rate.
For any ongoing game (longer than a few hours) you run the risk of disincentivizing (if that is indeed a word) the late-comers. When you see that you’re already 500 points behind, you’re more likely to click away. With this in mind, we designed the game so that ‘late’ teams could complete all the prior missions retroactively. This helped a lot with retention over the course of the 2 weeks.
Participating schools were:
University of Arizona University of Arkansas University of Colorado University of Connecticut University of Florida Florida State University University of Georgia University of Iowa University of Kansas University of Kentucky University of Maryland Michigan State University of Nebraska University of Oklahoma Penn State Purdue University Syracuse University UNC Utah Virginia Tech
Don’t you want to know which school was the most creative/smartest? Maybe it’s something they put in the swampwater, or the rubbing-of-elbows with all the national champion athletes, but in our humble opinion, the University of Florida earned the distinction of OVERALL-SCHOOL-THAT-ROCKED-OUR-WORLD-THE-MOST.
Thanks to everyone who helped make this game a big success!

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