Skype’s “Level 48” new campaign is meant to be a showcase of Skype’s capabilities on the Xbox One gaming console. It will run for two days, feature five games and 48 levels of play; but the campaign, launched yesterday in partnership with agency Pereira O’Dell, isn’t merely just an ordinary game-a-thon. It is a live-streaming comedy and gaming reality show rolled into one, hosted by actor and comedian Bobby Lee.
The two-day event, which launched yesterday, stars CollegeHumor writers Jake Hurwitz and Amir Blumenfield battling it out on the Xbox One and attempting to outsmart one another on a series of weird challenges. And there’s a hitch—their only form of communication with the audience at home is through Skype on their Xbox consoles.
“Level 48 is a unique campaign that allows us to showcase the capabilities of Skype on Xbox One, while leveraging three consumer passion points — gaming, comedy and entertainment,” Angie Hill, general manager of consumer marketing at Skype, said. “We want the benefits of Skype on Xbox to resonate with this audience in a fun and interesting way.”
The audience gets the chance to participate along every step of the way— whether it is crowd sourcing the look of the gamers’ rooms, adding “Team Jake” or “Team Amir” to their Skype contacts, or voting online to either help them or throw obstacles in their paths as they play.
“We wanted a comedy team that played video games and yet had fun together,” Jonathan Woytek, Pereira O’Dell’s creative director, said. The aim was to reach out to a broader category of casual and serious gamers, as well as connect Jake and Amir’s fans with them.
“Fans can either help one of them — we will bring a professional gamer in for example — or they can vote to distract one of them, and we will bring in a mariachi band,” Woytek explained. The first day’s event, which lasted for six hours between 3 pm and 9 pm PST, not only included a mariachi band as a distraction, but also featured everything from dancers and twerking to goats. It had nearly 4,000 viewers watching it live during the first few hours, but the numbers thinned steadily afterwards.
The event helped put the spotlight on Skype’s various features, such as gesture controls, messaging, voice calls and Snap, which lets gamers talk and play at the same time through the Xbox.
“This isn’t a tightly scripted event, it’s free flowing,” Woytek said, explaining why Hurwitz, Blumenfeld and Lee were perfect for the event. Moreover, their fan base falls squarely in the same demographic as Xbox’s, a younger age group that Skype is eagerly wooing, he said.
CollegeHumor too was excited about the partnership and said that its fans were thrilled. “The love-hate relationship between Jake and Amir on CollegeHumor lends itself very well to the whole concept behind Level 48,” Mike Mobley, VP of Media Sales at CollegeHumor, said.
This isn’t the first time that Skype has come up with a campaign that has promoted heavy audience involvement. Last year, Skype had the campaign Rerouted,” which followed Skype’s Travel Brand Ambassador as he completed a travel challenge with the help of the audience, through the integrated use of Skype, a Surface Pro and Windows 8.1.
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