SEASON 1.0 - THE Play styles of entertainment


By reading this far, you’ve hopefully learned that Play Styles have the potential to reshape entertainment marketing. They provide a new perspective, one that allows us to relate to audiences not as demographic data points, but as real people, driven by meaningful motivations and interests. We learned, for example, how the fans of Deadpool aren’t just “male, college-educated, and between the ages of 18-34,” they are fun-loving people who find thrill in getting a reaction out of others. 20th Century Fox tapped into this truth through an innovative integrated campaign, which included trolling the audience of Good Housekeeping.

The theory of Play Styles builds upon a hypothesis that we can encourage deeper fan participation in the stories we create. This way of thinking can enable storytellers to extend narratives in new, exciting, and innovative ways. One example is Netflix's Disjointed, which went beyond the typical tactics (teasers, trailers, OOH) to host a pop-up event at a Los Angeles marijuana dispensary months before the state’s national adult-use legalization. The event resonated with Socialite fans, giving them the experience to share with friends while also letting them become part of the story by touching, feeling, buying, and yes, consuming products from the show. More casual fans experienced the event through headlines and online content across many popular online publications and social networks.

Earlier in the briefing, we introduced the AUX Engagement Map, which is a tool for auditing marketing initiatives and brainstorming new ideas. We also proposed that it can help segment fan audiences by their Play Style and desired level of involvement. On this front, we believe the natural next step is applying quantitative measures to more accurately assess and size audiences. While there are tools available for analyzing audience psychology, using what's known as psychometrics, they have recently come under scrutiny due to privacy concerns. So we tested a more classic method, the simple survey, to provide results that are just as useful. Gathering responses from close to 400 active Game of Thrones fans, we found that 54% seek out Pathfinder activities, thus making them what should be a priority for the franchise. We were also able to segment audiences by their desired level of involvement and favorite digital channels.

While the world's most innovative marketers intuitively understand Play Styles, the majority do not. By creating this shared language, we hope to empower teams to conceptualize and execute bolder, more original ideas, with an emphasis on fan service. As discussed earlier, the only way to succeed in today's competitive entertainment and media landscape is to double down on, and invest in, fan communities. Loyal fans, which are earned, not bought, will advocate, recruit, and be more convincing than any form of advertising out there. Providing them with something to talk about, share, and ultimately always remember, is the way to break through.

And with that, we look forward to the application of Play Styles more broadly, and the exciting entertainment experiences to come out of them, all in the name of fandom.

table of contents
table of contents