The global gaming market is forecast to be worth $256.97 billion by 2025. And gaming ads are a huge part of this equation. In fact, some gaming ads have become as popular as the games themselves thanks to clever execution, impeccable copy, and great visuals.
If you’re in the gaming business and want to make a dent in the market, running gaming ads is a necessity. But where do you get started from? That’s what we’ll help you along in this article. We will share 10 iconic gaming ads to inspire your ad strategy this year.
Here are the ones we will cover:
1. K/DA for League of Legends
2. Halo 3 - Believe
3. Sega’s Genesis Does What Nintendon’t
4. Travis Scott with Fortnite
5. Halo reach light
6. Assassin’s Creed My Life As An NPC
7. Fifa 18 El Tornado
8. Sony PlayStation: Long Live Play - Character Commercial
9. Playstation Move
10. Super Princess Peach Commercial
Stay with us till the end and find pro tips that’ll help you create gaming ads with creativity and scalability.
Pro Tip: You can create gaming ads effortlessly using InVideo’s games video editor.
League of Legends is probably one of the most popular games of all time. Riot Games, the developer of this 2009 multiplayer battle arena video game, created a K-pop band as part of the game and then started creating music videos that acted as ads, tying in nicely with their advertising strategy.
Comprised of versions of four "League of Legends" champions — Ahri, Akali, Evelynn, and Kai'sa — the band first debuted in the 2018 lead-up to the League of Legends World Championship Finals that were held in South Korea. Since then, they’ve produced spectacular music videos that also promote the game. Here’s one that uses animated characters from the game itself:
A completely different approach to gaming ads, the collaboration with K/DA wasn’t like anything people had seen before. This was a genius approach because the music videos not only acted as great adverts for the game but also developed a fandom of their own, getting Riot Games more leads than ever.
While creating a new band might seem far-fetched for a new gaming company, you can definitely look into creating music videos or songs to promote your games. If the song and the video are good, they will end up getting traction automatically and can potentially convert into solid leads over time.
Pro tip: You can isolate small snippets from your music video to run as video posts across social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook. And you can create these snippets using InVideo’s games video editor.
Believe was not just one video ad but an ad campaign that is considered to be one of Halo 3’s most successful. These videos which were created to depict a single battle in Halo 3 were created by Rupert Sanders — an iconic video game ads director — for an estimated cost of $10 million.
The ads were filmed by creating a massive diorama (3D model) spanning 1,200 square feet in area and over 12 feet in height. Hand-crafted human and Covenant figures represented at 1/12th of the scale were created and placed on this battleground representation and it was called the Museum of Humanity.
Here is one of the videos from the ad campaign with a goosebump-inducing musical score composed by Jay Green:
The success of this ad campaign depended on the concept which included using a model-style presentation instead of computer graphics as well as cameos of actual war veterans. The idea was to build an emotional connection with the audience from the get-go and it worked out splendidly for Halo 3.
If you are to take any inspiration from this ad, it should be to spend a lot of time on the idea of your ad and try and connect it with fundamental human emotions in order to elicit a great response from your target audience. You can always nail the execution of your ideas with the help of a tool like InVideo that lets you create stunning video ads quite easily.
One of the oldest gaming ads that avid gamers still love, Sega’s Genesis ad (slogan actually) is an iconic 80s TV ad that is still loved and discussed. Having created a game console with new technology and more gaming chops called the Sega Genesis, the company had to battle Nintendo’s market leader position.
So, while Nintendo ads focused on beloved characters mostly, Sega came up with an ad that highlighted the features of their new gaming console. Look at the ad here:
In the first part of the ad, we hear only 1st half of the very catchy slogan - “Genesis does…” The quirky music is supported by all the cool new things players can do with Sega Genesis. Featuring several celebrities, features, and special offers, this part segues into the 2nd part of the ad, with the remaining slogan “Nintendon’t.” It very simply points out that all these features are available in Sega Genesis, but not Nintendo consoles.
Sega created FOMO among their target users, way before social media existed. All the school children and teenagers (Sega’s target group), wanted to be a part of the Genesis generation and not miss out. Sega’s ads used emotional, logical, and ethical appeal to connect with players. As a result, Genesis' sales throughout four holiday seasons after this ad amounted to double that of its competitor, Nintendo's SNES. Meanwhile, the slogan is still a point of debate and discussion among Sega and Nintendo loyalists, and was re-used across various other campaigns as well!
While signing on celebrities may be excessive for small companies or certain mobile games, you can still use the key aspect of Sega’s ad - highlighting your product features, for your gaming ads. Connect emotionally with your users with a witty slogan, and create ads that show how your gaming experience stands out from others! Share discount coupons and offers on special days to take your promotional ads a step further.
Pro Tip: You can create beautiful, scroll-stopping ads highlighting your game’s features with InVideo’s product video ad templates.
Gaming ads can also be experiential instead of something that people consume passively. Epic Game ensures this with one of their most popular games — Fortnite. In 2020, they took the experience to another level by collaborating with Travis Scott for the release of his song Astronomical — turning it into a live virtual concert that people could participate in from across the world.
According to Epic Games, 12.3 million players participated in the concert and 27.7 million experienced it 45.8 million times across the five events, making it one of the most epic gaming promotions of all time. Check out a glimpse:
The concert worked as the perfect ad for the game by inviting viewers from across the world to experience the Fortnite universe, even those who had never played the game before. The Avatar-style visuals, the immersive experience, and the new music all made for a successful recipe to promote the game.
While you might not get access to someone as popular as Travis Scott when you’re starting out, you can collaborate with micro and macro influencers to create an immersive experience for your audience. Make videos, music, or even fun events with them to spread the word and make people part of your gaming universe.
Use the 5000+ templates on InVideo to edit your videos and make stunning ads that get people to stop scrolling.
This is another example of how you can create an immersive promotional experience instead of a lackluster ad. Three weeks before the launch of Halo: Reach, Microsoft kickstarted their ‘monument of light’ campaign, which allowed the audience to visit a website from where they could control a robotic arm and plot a point of light to create a memorial for fallen soldiers. The website ended up getting over 54,000 hits and these resulted in the creation of a spectacular monument. Take a look here:
Once complete, Microsoft also released three live-action short films directed by Noam Murro. Interactive in itself, the memorial that was a result of the initiative speaks for itself and is an ad that inspires users who are emotionally connected with the game. It also creates awareness about the game by ensuring that it’s known for the right reasons - as a memorial to fallen soldiers.
You don’t have to go as far as creating a robotic arm to promote your game. The idea behind immersive ads is to allow people to participate in some capacity. You could easily do this using Instagram stories like Samsung did for the launch of their Galaxy note 10.
The ad uses video stories and uses Instagram sticker elements like tap and follow to get users to participate in a chase scene where the users are chasing someone who has stolen a briefcase. The campaign was brilliantly executed and is actually very simple to create. All you need to do is create a video based on a story promoting your game and then break it down into 15-second Instagram stories that users can actively engage with. You can design the video as well as the stories using InVideo’s online video editor and then add the stickers within Instagram itself.
One of the best video game marketing campaigns from the Assassin’s Creed franchise by Ubisoft is their My Life As An NPC Campaign. When Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey was launched across Europe and USA, Ubisoft came up with a unique, humorous social media campaign featuring NPCs or non-player characters from the game.
In this social campaign, dozens of NPCs took over Ubisoft’s Instagram and Facebook pages one week before the launch. They shared what their life in the game looks like in a funny, quirky and offbeat way. After a virtual casting and some animation, these virtual people had their say for the first time. Check out this ad depicting an assassin perched atop a building, shot from the perspective of an NPC on the ground.
As townspeople beg the assassin not to jump, one woman dares him to. The man leaps gracefully from the roof, then falls into a surreal world with copies of himself. Finally, he lands, unhurt, in a pile of hay. Seeing this, a woman comments on the convenient location of the hay pile. The ad also plays on the joke among Assassin’s Creed fans, who unlock game achievements by taking a Leap of Faith themselves. You can always tell a designated location by the conveniently placed pile of hay in the game! These ads use a comedic approach to real-life events while highlighting events and aspects of the game.
Further still, Ubisoft also did a social media takeover with #AskaSpartan, a campaign on Twitter in the USA. This allowed Twitter users to ask questions, real or serious, to an actor dressed as Alexios, a Spartan warrior, and guide from the game. Viewers were taken to Ancient Greece, the time and place Assassin’s Creed” Odyssey is set in, with Alexios’ answers.
Even if your games do not have the virality and reach that Assassin’s Creed commands, you can use a similar comedic approach to promote your games on social media. Short Instagram videos, reels, character sketches, social media takeovers, and even NPC (non-player characters) highlights can make your games more popular and relatable to new and old players alike.
If you are into sports games, an iconic ad you need to look at is the FIFA 18 El Tornado commercial. It’s an interesting ad because it shows not only aspects of FIFA gameplay, but also other aspects of soccer/ football as a game that fans and players love. Emotional, but also showing off the FIFA interface, the El Tornado gaming ad shows off a young kid doing the el tornado move (that hadn’t actually been performed yet). We see in the commercial how the kid suddenly becomes an internet sensation and is loved by all. And it all started with the FIFA 18 gameplay.
The ad focuses on how skills and ideas flow from a video game into real life and become a part of it. Have a look at it here:
Gamers ideally don’t want to move away from their stations. Great gaming ads like this one though, make them idealize real life and inject FOMO for these amazing experiences. You can use FIFA’s ad inspiration to create your own ads that borrow from real-life but are a part of your game as well.
One of the greatest video game commercials ever made, the Long Live Play ad is an ode to the gamers who give life and heart to characters in epic games. The PlayStation is a product that many gamers swear by, and love to use. While new generations and versions of the PS pop up, players still connect with their old game memories while using the product. Sony used this insight to create this beautiful ad. While not literally a gaming ad, it appeals to players who loved their old PS and games they played on these devices. Look at it here.
This Sony gaming ad brings various beloved characters to life with actors playing their roles. At the same time, we also have graphic characters who form important aspects of various games all gathered in a bar. All the characters pay tribute to Michael - a gamer, one of the many gamers who is acknowledged on a wall of fame at the end of this video. A nostalgic tribute to fans and players, it lets people go down memory lane, remembering the games they’ve played on the PS until now.
You don’t have to recreate this cinematic ad to acknowledge your players and fans though. You can simply make an emotional thank you video, showing your players and fans gratitude and love. When in doubt, just use the thank you templates on InVideo to create a stunning video with minimal effort and no formal training!
A gaming device loved by serious gamers, Sony PlayStation ads have always explored various aspects of gameplay. But in this iconic ad, they show the ‘move’ version of the PS. Adding an element of deeper interactivity with intelligent game controllers that simulate gaming in augmented reality with AI, this PS allows players to play not just (role-playing games) RPGs, but also games like badminton, pool, football, snooker, and more. This ad shares just how many different ways the PS can be used.
The ad shows all the different ways players can use the play station. It also shows off why a PS is the ultimate gaming device for many. This ad is a simple example of how you can show highlights or features of your products to relevant users.
Create your own product highlight video gaming ads inspired by this Sony PS ad. Show your users how many different ways your product can be used, or the unique features of your game (be it weapons, storyline, locations, characters, or something else).
Nintendo’s Super Mario is a hit among every type of gamer you could find. Super Princess Peach is a platform video game created for the Nintendo DS handheld game console. This game features Princess Peach as the only main playable character. The game follows Peach's trip to Vibe Island to rescue Mario (of Super Mario fame) and Luigi, who have been kidnapped by Bowser, in a reversal of the damsel in distress trope.
Following the concept of the game, we see this (really old) commercial, where princesses were being trained at a princess Bootcamp. Starting with a voiceover that goes “Once upon a time, princesses were called to rescue two captured plumbers,” the ad immediately grabs attention for its unique narration. It’s not only breaking various stereotypes but also giving Mario enthusiasts a new way to play with their beloved characters.
Appealing to game players who love the Mario franchise and know Princess Peach, this ad tells a story that directly relates to the game. It generates curiosity and invites users to check out the game at the same time.
Just like the unusual story of Princess Peach in this commercial, you can use storytelling to create a compelling video gaming ad for your games. Just add visuals of your own gameplay and relevant music using InVideo’s games video editor to make the ad more personal!
These are some gaming ads that you can draw inspiration from when creating your own gaming ads. What are the things you need to keep in mind when creating gaming ads? Let’s take a look at some tips.
There are several factors that make a gaming ad work and help increase sales. In this section, we’ll look at some points to make an impactful video gaming ad.
Tip #1 - Focus on connecting with users with a story
If you look at most of the ad examples we have shared, you’ll notice that all of these employ some kind of storytelling. They also utilize visuals from their games, game universe, and game locations or characters in their ads. The reason for this? Players choose games to be a part of a different story than their own. Showing them how a game will help them de-stress, get entertained, or join a new world connects with players emotionally. They relate to aspects of the game or feel thrilled at what they can do in the game.
When it comes to gaming ads, marketers must focus on the story and visuals for maximum impact. For example, check out this stunning PlayStation ad called Double Life, expressing how gamers feel about different games and their life in the virtual world.
You can start your own video gaming ad with a powerful story by
- First creating a script
- Recording your gameplay (Here’s how you can record your computer screen to start off)
- Combining your recordings in the format as scripted on InVideo’s game video editor
- Enhancing the edit with music, text, and transitions
Tip #2 - Know your players’ motivations
Why do people like to play your game? As a marketer promoting a mobile game or creating gaming ads, you need to be able to answer this question. To finetune player motivations, you can start by writing down the main characteristics of your game.
For example, if you are looking at a simple-to-play casual match-3 puzzle game with design and decor meta elements, you probably know what type of users would play your game. You are probably looking at casual puzzle gamers and gamers with interests in design and decor.
If you go one step further, you’ll find that the main things that motivate players to play a puzzle game are thinking, solving, exercising cognitive skills, passing time, relaxing, etc. Thus, you can target players with these specific interests.
Tip #3 - Advertise in-game for greater reach
When it comes to gaming ads, we are not just talking about social media, YouTube, or Google (and other search ads). We are also looking at in-game ads. The best place to market games is within already existing games. This is because players of one game may be interested in other games too. You’ve probably seen notifications like this one while playing a mobile game.
When you click the video, you end up watching an ad targeted to you based on your preferences and search history. You may have also seen similar ads promoting different games you can play.
Mobile in-game advertising focuses more on selling your product using click-through links, or getting users to visit a website or download an app.
In-game ads can also be used to create brand awareness, especially in computer and console games. While the largest franchises of games with AAA of the most successful titles may not be available to many small gaming businesses, you can target various free-to-play titles instead. FIFA and NBA 2K are famous for their in-game ads. Here’s a basic video telling how you can get started with in-game ads.
These were some tips you can start off with in the world of gaming ads. You can start your advertising journey by collaborating with gaming video creators and YouTubers to provide you with more reach. But if you are struggling with budgets, just use the InVideo gaming ads editor to create your own video ads.
Gaming ads, like the games themselves, need to connect with the target audience on an emotional level to help build interest in what is to come. The examples we shared above do exactly that and that is what you should focus on while designing ads for your games as well. Personal, visual, and thought-out ads will help you enhance your brand awareness and lead generation tactics.
Meanwhile, if you are looking for more ad inspiration, check out these Instagram and Facebook ad examples to help you along. And if you prefer learning via videos, head on to InVideo’s YouTube channel to learn more video editing hacks and tricks!