For a consumer surfing the Web on his or her mobile device, speed is everything, and nothing slows down browsing more than ads. From interstitials to preroll videos, advertising content interrupts consumers' interactions with the content they're pursuing and is "just plain intrusive," says Robert Grossberg, CEO of TreSensa, a company that builds mobile game advertisements for brands. When the ad takes the form of an interactive game, however, the experience is quite different.
In early 2014, Warner Bros. and WWE Studios joined forces to promote their cobranded DVD, Scooby-Doo and the Race to Wrestlemania. With Millennials as the target audience, the companies determined that a mobile advertising campaign would be the most effective way to reach their target demographic. Games dominate the activity on mobile devices, with two-thirds of the time spent on mobile devices devoted to them. The WWE knew that mobile was the way to go, but was reluctant to pursue the native app route.
"We did not want to create a game for the app stores, as driving downloads is a serious challenge and can be very costly for brands. Our goal was to use the game as a means to get our fans excited about the upcoming DVD prerelease, and then promote and drive sales for the DVD postrelease," Julie Tustin, vice president of marketing and publicity at WWE Studios, says.
Instead, WWE decided to find a vendor that would help it develop an HTML5 mobile Web game, which would give the WWE's marketing team the most flexibility in terms of promotion. For example, an HTML5 game can be promoted on a brand's Web sites and through various social channels, not just on a mobile device. WWE Studios also wanted the game to work on all devices, regardless of device type or operating system. With a native app, a separate version is required for each OS. To carry out the project, the company turned to TreSensa.
"The selection of TreSensa was pretty straightforward. We simply saw the quality and performance of the branded mobile Web games they had produced for HBO, Progressive Insurance, Disney, and Nickelodeon and did not see anything comparable on the market," Tustin says.
The TreSensa team approached the project in the same way that they had previous projects, but with a twist. Typically, TreSensa creates a game that complements its customers' other content and creative. When the company worked with Progressive Insurance on a campaign that promoted coverage bundling, for example, the game involved catching a combination of coins that represented both home