Cannes Creative Showcase: HBO's Westworld brought to life - MARKETING Magazine Asia


Cannes Creative Showcase: HBO’s Westworld brought to life

To build excitement and buzz around Westworld’s Season 2 finale among the show’s most devoted fans, HBO set out to extend the show’s “world,” bringing it to life for fans to inhabit, much like the characters they follow each week.

Westworld tells the story of a Western-themed amusement park inhabited by lifelike robot “hosts.” Visitors in the story come from far and wide – and pay top dollar – to experience a world where every human appetite can be indulged. As the second season came to a close, and the hosts became self-aware, the adventures within the park take a darker turn. It was this pivotal show trajectory that the agency involved (360i) sought to recreate for fans.

Idea

The Maze brings the show’s layered story mapping to the voice platform, where users are led on a quest for consciousness in an immersive game that allows fans to navigate the show’s world as if they were actually characters within it.

360i took inspiration from Westworld itself, which establishes memory, improvisation and self-interest as the levels of intelligence to inform an experience that blends gaming and storytelling, to give fans a way to interact with the places and people in the world they’ve grown to love, and stay engaged with the show even when it’s not on air.

Strategy

The show has built up a rabid base of fans who delight in the show’s mysterious twists and turns. The most devoted fans spend hours theorizing about hidden meanings and symbols, always looking for a way to get deeper into the show’s intricate narrative.

For such an avid group of fans to buy in, The Maze needed to deliver on the authentic storytelling and high-quality production fans expect from the show.

The Voice platform provided an opportunity to bring this storytelling to life on a platform that lets users experience the show first-hand, right from their couches.

Execution

Westworld: The Maze is a voice game on Amazon Alexa-enabled devices that allows fans to navigate the HBO show’s world from their couches. The skill is truly immersive – breaking boundaries as Westworld fans would expect.

Users play as an unnamed Westworld host, guided through “choose-your-own-adventure” style gameplay by beloved characters like Bernard/Arnold (Jeffrey Wright) and Clementine (Angela Sarafyan).

The production quality and storytelling are not replicated in any other Voice skills on the market. It was crafted in partnership with Westworld’s show producers and audio teams. Through this collaboration, a team of skilled engineers leveraged the show’s original audio library to develop custom sound for each of the 11,000 lines of copy within the game.

The final product presents fans with over two hours of unique gameplay, 400 potential choices, and the voice talents of 36 different actors each cast specifically for their roles in the skill.

On average, fans who played The Maze have engaged with the brand for 14 minutes. The Maze earned a 4.4/5 star review from users in the Amazon App Store.

In a first-of-its-kind feat, HBO brought its unique brand of storytelling and dedication to craft to a platform that relies entirely on audio – and its fans’ imaginations.

Within days of the game being released, Westworld: The Maze garnered 1.2 million press impressions. Since launch, the game has earned more than 15 accolades including Clio Awards, ANDY Awards and London International Awards, among others. Amazon recently mentioned Westworld: The Maze on its Earnings Report call, citing it as an exemplary Entertainment skill created for Amazon Alexa.

Outcome

In a first-of-its-kind feat, HBO brought its unique brand of storytelling and dedication to craft to a platform that relies entirely on audio – and its fans’ imaginations.

On average, fans who played The Maze have engaged with the brand for 14 minutes. The Maze earned a 4.4/5 star review from users in the Amazon App Store.

Within days of the game being released, Westworld: The Maze garnered 1.2 million press impressions. Since launch, the game has earned more than 15 accolades including Clio Awards, ANDY Awards and London International Awards, among others. Amazon recently mentioned Westworld: The Maze on its Earnings Report call, citing it as an exemplary Entertainment skill created for Amazon Alexa.


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