Top tips for commissioning a Christmas Game

SPOILER ALERT: Sunny days at the beach might be over but it's never too early to get planning! Go, Go, Go.

Posted by Leanne on 03.09.19

We know the story.

Christmas is fast approaching and you need to come up with a fun, engaging festive campaign. No pressure then!

Whether your recipients are clients, stakeholders, new business prospects or you’re just providing a fun seasonal sign off for your colleagues, having to pull a Christmas cracker out of the bag can be a right holiday headache.

Sure, an e-card is a pretty safe bet and we defy you to find anyone that doesn’t enjoy a hamper of goodies in the season of eating-with-abandon, but what about something new? Something exciting?

Well, dear reader, a branded game could be just the ticket for drumming up end of year engagement, getting nice additions to your mailing list for next year’s campaigns and all whilst spreading a little Christmas joy!

Like the idea? Well, to help you on your way to festive fun, we’ve pulled together 3 simple pointers to consider in order to best set yourself up for seasonal success.

Keep these in mind and yule not be disappointed!

1. Factor in the Christmas Rush

In the same way that only the bravest gamblers among us would leave Christmas shopping until the last minute, you wouldn’t want to wait until November 30th to start thinking about your Christmas campaign.

A basic branded game will typically take about 2 weeks. Typically. In the same way nipping into the supermarket for a bag of spuds typically takes about 5 minutes – the Christmas rush throws all that out the window.

Speaking for ourselves for a moment, our studio is something of a Santa’s workshop in the lead up to December, with our creative elves piled up with festive projects. Because of this, we need to book in projects a little earlier than usual in order to hit deadlines. We’d be willing to bet our biscuits it’s the same for other game studios too.

We appreciate that in amongst your other responsibilities there’s not always a lot of lead time and we’ll do our best to accommodate, but it’s always best to let us know as early as you can.

And when you’re really stuck for time, there’s always this little service called Piknik (wink) which can be ready in 2 working days!

2. Sorting out the decorations

Sometimes you need your Christmas game off-the-shelf, pre-wrapped and ready to go. Simple enough.

Sometimes, however, your campaign calls for something a little more custom. Sometimes you want a game with all the jingle bells and whistles.

In your planning decide what level of customisations you want; perhaps you want to change the playable character to your company or campaign mascot, just like Greene King did when they drafted in Mrs. Claus for their game. Or, maybe you want to update the collectables/items in game to marry up with your services or campaign objective a la Beazley, when they swapped the focus from presents to policies.

Perhaps you’ve got your heart set on adding in a fun feature that isn’t in the standard gameplay. All of this totally achievable but will require extra time so keep that in mind.

Depending on the level of customisation you want, you may need to factor in up to 6 – 8 weeks to design, develop and launch a fully customised game so the earlier you can communicate your ideas the better.

If you think this could be you, then we’d recommend making a note in the diary to start your planning in September (now!) at the latest.

3. Present Presentation

It’s not just the present itself that needs to be planned out, it’s the wrapping it comes in.

In the same way you wouldn’t want to send someone important a fine gift swaddled in newspaper and duct tape, you wouldn’t want the Christmas game to sit on an obscure webpage somewhere gathering dust.

Plan in advance how you’re going to promote your game. For example, do you want to create an advent calendar landing page where you can reveal prizes and direct traffic to your game just like Opus Energy?

Or maybe direct players from the game to a festive offers page like DFDS have done many times before.

Perhaps you can design and implement a festive banner on your website for players to click on to access your game competition.

You also need to think about your delivery channels. For example, will you send it out to your mailing list as a Christmas treat, or craft a bunch of posts so you can share it with your social media following. Do you also want your players to be able to share their scores to social media too?

To allow for campaign consistency make sure you ask your developer upfront if they can provide game images to help you create social cards, web banners and any other materials you need, so you’re not stuck for assets right before launch.

Just a few things to think about when planning your campaign, but don’t worry any good games studio will be able to guide and help you plan the best Christmas campaign for your audience – just ask!

We hope you’ve found this blog helpful and that you’re feeling ready to sleigh the competition with a fun Christmas game campaign!

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