Otronicon is an annual event managed by the Orlando Science Center (OSC) that explores how gaming and interactive technology affect the way we work, live and play. The event has grown over the years to become a four-day event. For the first time in the event’s history, game studio EA - Tiburon was participating in the event as a sponsor and an exhibitor through the EA SPORTS brand label. The highlight of its exhibit – EA SPORTS Virtual Playbook – is an innovative technology that, previous to Otronicon, had only been used in-studio and seen on ESPN. Virtual Playbook is an amplified version of television reality, through which users can interact with virtual athletes. In addition to Virtual Playbook, EA SPORTS was featuring a number of their fans’ favorite sports titles in an area set up for game-play. Just three weeks prior to the event, C&P was challenged by EA SPORTS to not only promote their involvement, but also help drive awareness of the overall event in a way that complemented OSC’s existing outreach.
The average gamer (a key audience for Otronicon and EA SPORTS) is 34 years of age and 60 percent of gamers are male. With this demographic information in mind, Curley & Pynn decided to leverage popular YouTubers that reached this audience … a strategy that had not been utilized by Otronicon in previous years. The overall goal was to promote EA SPORTS’ involvement in Otronicon and the event itself by hosting at least three strong, regional YouTubers who would then post videos about the event, helping to drive current and future awareness. Curley & Pynn aimed to secure 10,000 total views for the videos (the equivalent of the average number of attendees to Otronicon).
After identifying several regional YouTubers whose audience met demographic preferences, Curley & Pynn invited them to attend the opening night of Otronicon, with the hopes that they would post videos soon afterward, helping to drive attendance throughout the event.
Understanding the YouTube mindset was key to this process. YouTubers are a tight-knit community that don’t like to be “hounded” by publicists and cannot be expected to behave like traditional journalists. Therefore, Curley & Pynn crafted a strategy to host the YouTubers that was less intrusive and more fluid to accommodate their needs, and yet, would also satisfy EA SPORTS and the Orlando Science Center. Rather than create a traditional itinerary, Curley & Pynn worked with the Orlando Science Center to arrange for a particular meet up time and proposed activities for the YouTubers to experience and record … thus ensuring that elements such as EA SPORTS Virtual Playbook were included.
Seven regional YouTubers attended the event, resulting in videos that collectively received more than 274,000 views and thousands of positive comments about Otronicon and EA SPORTS … a number of which expressed a desire to attend the event. The YouTube videos all ran prior to the end of Otronicon, helping to drive immediate traffic and interest. The reach of these influential YouTubers also extended through Facebook and Twitter, as many of them had a presence in those social media channels as well.
The most successful videos came from the extremely popular YouTubers Charles Trippy & Alli Speed (CTFxC), which garnered 250,000 of the views on their own. The YouTube couple were celebrities in their own right, attracting the attention of fans in attendance who later commented on how “cool” it was to see them there. More than 2,900 comments were posted in response to all of the YouTubers’ videos, many stating that the event “looks awesome” and “I want to go!”
Attributed to the social media push for Otronicon and a number of marketing efforts, revenue was reported to have increased by 7 percent over the previous year. In addition to securing positive YouTube coverage for Otronicon and EA SPORTS, valuable relationships were formed with the attending YouTubers, and some of them continue to attend and help build buzz for the event.