“Your Mom Hates Dead Space 2”
The original Dead Space was one of the most grotesque games in history – a game that sold very well to horror fans. With the launch of Dead Space 2, Electronic Arts wanted to increase sales by expanding its audience. We needed to look beyond our traditional Survival-Horror genre audience (3.1MM gamers) to action fans (21.8MM gamers) and find a fresh, universal way to get this larger audience to consider the game.
The answer was simple: your mom. It is a universal truth that a mother’s disapproval can be more influential than a critic’s praise.
To validate this idea, we conducted interviews with moms in a focus group facility, recruiting conservative, middle-aged, suburban moms, and showed them footage from the game in the hope of witnessing motherly disapproval. It worked – every mom hated Dead Space 2. And the stronger their opinions were, the more compelling the campaign became. Every spot, banner, or execution quoted actual respondents and their genuine reactions.
We kicked off the “Your Mom Hates Dead Space 2” campaign during the NFL playoffs with a :30 spot ending with the yourmomhatesthis.com URL, sparking close to a 60% increase in both search query volumes and website visits. For the next 30 days, we continued to build frequency on TV by placing our disgusted moms in the most popular male programming.
In the social space, we capitalized on campaign momentum one day after launching on TV by leveraging a Twitter Promoted Trend, #yourmomhatesthis, to drive video views and generate buzz and conversation around the title. This punctuated our sustained presence on Facebook and social recommendation engines Digg and StumbleUpon, where we seeded our video assets within our target’s content streams.
Our break from the niche was successful. By week five, Dead Space 2 had sold 781,000 units, outselling the original Dead Space title by a 2:1 ratio in the critical five-week launch window, and exceeding sales that would reasonably be expected of an action game by over 132,000 units. Thanks to motherly disapproval, Dead Space 2 found its place on the mainstream action gamer’s shelf.