Call of Duty: YouTube-Centric Marketing

YouTube has been changing the face of marketing for a while. Just look at Blendtec, who jumped on the YouTube wagon with videos showing them blending everything from marbles and chicken, to iPads and hockey pucks. After watching a few of those videos, who would ever buy a blender that isn’t a Blendtec?

For consumer products that are already screen-based though, YouTube marketing is an almost natural leap. For years now, when a gamer wants tips or information on a game, they go to YouTube. The Let’s Play (LP) phenomenon has grown to the point where it’s really the YouTube community now that determines whether a game (or console) is going to make or break it.

Screenshot from Call of Duty: Ghosts

Video game publisher Activision, the publisher of notable game series Call of Duty, has jumped on the YouTube bandwagon. Activision’s VP of Digital Marketing, Jonathan Anastas, was quoted by AdAge as saying “We look to YouTube as almost one of the most important communication mediums we have.” Their channel CallofDuty has nearly 1.5 million subscribers, and over 380 million video views. Most of the content on their channel is developed exclusively for YouTube, and includes trailers, behind-the-scenes clips, and demonstrations of game play. Before a game is published, these videos are getting millions of views. Once the game is published though, the views drop significantly as the audience switches from the publisher’s videos to LP videos and reviews.

Activision is encouraging user-generated content by giving Call of Duty players the option to live-stream on YouTube. This is direct contrast to another gaming giant, Nintendo, who recently began claiming user-generated LP videos because of copyright. Activision has also been asking top YouTube creators to produce their own content with Activision’s assets in preparation for the E3 conference. With even more YouTube-centered content on the horizon, Activision is clearly on the YouTube bandwagon for the long haul.