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Unleashing UCypher to take Indian pro-gaming to the world and build a bustling community of e-athletes from ground zero

Unleashing UCypher to take Indian pro-gaming to the world and build a bustling community of e-athletes from ground zero

Market Challenge

Globally, the e-sports gaming market is estimated to be over USD 500-600 million with over 2000 participating teams. Although in India, compared to cricket & football, the perception of ‘gaming’ in India is linked to 'casual entertainment' and most certainly not a real 'sport' in spite of being home to thousands of cyber athletes. Thus it does not command the same level of popularity with the masses.

Objectives

  • 1 Promote e-sports as a serious form of ‘sport’ and position U Cypher as an enabler of esports in the country. in the country
  • 2 Enable U Cypher to become a democratic and accessible platform to India beyond the metros
  • 3 U Cypher to be relevant as a community to the gaming core as well as a show to the mass youth of the country.

Insight

Skepticism is natural to everything that’s ‘new’ and ‘non-traditional’ in India, but finds mass acceptance when it becomes a celebrated phenomenon.

EXECUTION

With the intent of being relevant to a larger India, it was critical to showcase the potential of U Cypher being the next big phenomenon in the country.

This helped craft the proposition that U Cypher could own - ‘Naya Sport Naye Superstars’ projected the ambition & intent of elevating ‘gaming’ to a ‘sport’, and ‘gamers’ to ‘celebrated athletes’.

Further it positioned U Cypher, as the thought leader in the Indian E-sports domain.

The first introduction of U Cypher came in the form of 3 promos & digital cuts, released across social assets & on television through MTV. The communication drew excitement with exaggerated situations that overtly flipped everything that was conventionally Indian to introduce the new e-sports phenomenon & the new athletes into the celebrated mainstream.

Leveraging the momentum, team pages were announced with captain intro’s captured as byte sized content to create excitement, as a first step towards manifesting the league structure.

Announcing itself into the mainstream, the effort took to print with full page print ads on leading newspaper publications showcased the gamers & the proclaimed ambition ‘Naya Sport Naye Superstars’

Reflecting the core communication, display advertising on web & mobile intrigued core gamers & youth alike and enabled access to consume the full game plays on the website. This was backed by an effective search strategy announcing the intent of U Cypher being India’s premiere E-sports destination.

Outcome

The promos generated 15.1MN views with a CPV of 0.4 across social assets, garnering over 125K engagements with 32% of the views coming in organically. While the 3 promos were created for mass India, we created 2 specialised digital cuts which delivered almost 3MN views at a CPV of 0.3, but with a 54% organic view count. Reactions and views contribution showed an even spread across Tier 1 & Tier 2 markets, reflective of a democratic reach across India.

Display & Search advertising on web & mobile drew close to about 400K visits to the U Cypher website & served 11MN impressions at a CPC of 2.6

Insight

Consumption Behaviour

Gamers / youth today seek unique experiences. Thus, conventional, linear frameworks that most brands deploy no longer seem to influence the audience.

EXECUTION

Cognisant of the consumption behaviour

The critical aspect of content creation was to be cognisant of what’s ‘cool’ in the gamers universe. The swag, the edge & innovation were critical filters for content creation and took inspiration from everything that the gamer universe would relate & react to.

Seeding stimuli in the form of relevant content, leveraged by celebrities in the gaming domain drew in the fanatics and forming a community that the brand could call their own.

Edgy content was curated & packaged in the form of multiple dynamic content thematics given below to excite the young gaming enthusiasts.

  • Knockout: Bite-sized sledging moments from the episodes, showcasing the rivalry between the two teams but packaged in a typical gaming ‘KO’ style.

  • Cliff-hangers: Exciting moments from the episodes/matches shown until the climax followed by ‘What happens Next?’, aimed at driving tune-ins to the upcoming episode.

  • Meme-style content: Picking out micro-moments from the episodes where either of teams have celebrated or criticised their opponents and used those as content to further bring out the rivalry quotient.

  • Triple Kills & Perfect Gameplays: Content pieces showcasing the highlights of each match, be it a stunning move in the Tekken games, 6 sixes in the Cricket game or sheer brilliance demonstrated in the CSGO or DOTA 2 games.

  • Strategy Talks, Expert Chats & Game Analysis: Excerpts from the episode aimed at showcasing the analytical and serious side of the sport. Also aimed at driving consumption of the episodes on Digital.

  • Topical Content: For the occasions of Diwali, Christmas and New Year, we wished our fans in a manner that best spoke to them - using the games they love playing. For Diwali, we ‘shot’ the message on to a wall in the game that was given a Diwali-theme. For Christmas, we used the ‘bomb planting’ sound to recreate ‘Jingle Bells’. And for New Year, we showcased a celebration across the games, wishing our fans a ‘Happy New Sport!’.

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Outcome

The various micro-moment content pieces created recorded 1.8MN views across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram handles of U Cypher and MTV India, generating over 2.5MN engagements during the campaign.

Insight

Tribal Behaviour

Communities that form around a shared passion tend to exhibit tribe like behaviour, creating their own unique lingo, rituals, badges, anthems and acceptance filters.

EXECUTION

Energising the tribe called ‘gamers’

Gamers too exhibit behavioural pattern that keeps them together as a tight-knit collective, much like a tribe. The gaming community is known to have its own lingo in the form of gaming terms, nicknames, clans (groups), level badges and a mutual understanding of belonging.

The outcome of this learning inspired creation of an anthem that’s personal to them binding them together around a war cry.

This insight manifested in the form of an anthem packaged as a ‘music video’ - Hum Gamer Hain’ which the gamers could call their own and was inline with the strategy to be relevant to the ‘gaming core’ & fringe alike.

The music video was a sneak peek into the exciting, adrenaline filled world of U Cypher celebrating, the gamers, teams, the rivalry & action. ‘Hum Gamer hain’ lent recognition to indian cyber athletes proclaiming their identity to the world at large.

Outcome

The track generated a fair amount of interest amongst international e-gaming portals, Reddit threads and e-gaming social communities. The track also aired on MTV post launch on digital and received international recognition by the publication Polygon calling it ‘a blast’ announcing Indian e-sports to the world.

With a CPV of 0.29, the organic contribution to the total 10MN+ views was a staggering 63%.

  • Views - 168K
  • Engagement - 4K

'Open' discussions with the fans

The content & efforts drew in both appreciation & criticism with the highly engaged fan base. An ‘open’ discussion in the form of a Facebook live event clocking over 2k unique viewers covered the team captains & their rivalries and the all the drama that ensues.

Setting the stage for Season 2

The effort continued to scale up the drama, exciting the fans, and positioning U Cypher as a ‘Naya phenomenon’ in the competitive sporting domain, setting stage for Season 2 in the offing with 4000+ hand-raisers from across the country to participate in the next season.

RESULTs

  • Consumption
    Recorded over

    29MN views
    across content & platforms

  • Engagement
    Recorded over

    3MN+
    engagements
    across content on both U Cypher & MTV India

  • Reach & Impressions
    Amassed a reach of over

    124M

    with an impression count of 178M

  • Conversation Trends

    #UCYPHER, #HUMGAMERHAIN & #DOTHECYPHER TRENDED IN INDIA ON THE RESPECTIVE LAUNCH DAYS

  • Community
    grew from 1.5k to over

    878K
    across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & Youtube

  • Participation intent showcase for the next season
    Received over

    4000+
    hand-raisers
    for Season 2

  • Episode & Gameplay Consumption on YouTube
    Generated over

    450K views across the webisodes.

  • Display & Search on web & mobile

    Drew 400k+ visits to the U Cypher website & served
    11MN impressions at a CPC of 2.6.

Despite MTV's 15X larger community footprint, U Cypher generated a HIGHER Reach, Share of Volume and Influence.