With the release of Cyberpunk 2077, it’s been hard to avoid its “in your face” and rampant marketing. Since its announcement in 2012, this game has created years of anticipation, hype and buzz. And here at The Copy Cartel, I’d like to point out 6 reasons for its successful marketing…
And how you can incorporate some of these strategies into your own campaigns.
Cyberpunk 2077 is Repurposed Content Done Right
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Creators CD Projekt Red (CDPR) already took an established intellectual property in a popular sub-genre and made it into a great video game.
You can’t tap into your market any better by repurposing a product that says “If you love cyberpunk, then this game is for you. We give you Cyberpunk 2077. It’s as cyberpunk as you can get.”
Did you know Cyberpunk 2077 was originally a dystopian tabletop role playing game? It was written by Mike Pondsmith and published by R. Talsorian Games in 1990. He actually coined the term Cyberpunk and gave rise to that popular subset of sci-fi storytelling. The game took a lot of inspiration from the film Blade Runner and the novel Hardwired.
CDPR reached out to Mike as a co-creator and consultant for 2077 because they loved the idea behind his work. And they believed in its potential and massive success.
“…when CD Projekt RED approached us, what we realized really rapidly was that these guys are fans. These guys know the material… And that’s an important thing,” Mike said in a 2013 interview.
Repurposed content is a great marketing strategy. It creates excitement because you make a new product that can reach new audiences.
Some fans like to see their favorite books become movies or movies become games (as long as it’s executed well.)
So for a tabletop game to become a fully actualized video game with lots of attention to detail, Cyberpunk 2077 had already created the blueprint for a successful crossover.
It’s a great use of taking a niche product in a niche market and expanding it to a different format… especially for a $90 billion dollar market.
So if you create any content, think of ways you can repurpose it to reach a bigger audience.
A good blog post can become a video or podcast episode. And Cyberpunk 2077 did that on a massive and impressive scale.
Celebrity Endorsements and Partnerships
With a $315 million budget, CDPR spared no expenses in coughing up the big bucks in getting celebrity and influencer partnerships.
Aside from the authority and credibility added to the game with Mike Pondsmith’s work, Cyberpunk put a big emphasis on getting Keanu Reeves to voice and play one of the main characters.
In addition, CDPR also partnered with popular live streamers and influencers, some even got their own appearance and missions in the game as well… including Jesse Cox, Alanah Pearce, and Cohh Carnage.
From a consumer perspective, if you’re a major fan of Keanu Reeves or these other influencers, it’d be cool to see them lend their talents and likeness to such a project.
Adding credibility or endorsements to your product with a popular celebrity or influencer will expose you to their fanbase or audience which doesn’t hurt (as long as they don’t do something reckless or stupid)
Building Market Hype and Anticipation
Cyberpunk 2077 has been in the works since 2012. Since then, it’s been nothing but an ongoing marketing campaign.
There’s been constant coverage on its anticipated release, multiple trailers, and behind-the-scenes updates.
It was supposed to be released in April 2020, but it was further “delayed” due to further bugs that needed ironing out (the game still released with bugs, lol)
All of that led to further market anticipation. The gaming community just couldn’t wait to get their hands on this “must-have” title. For some reason, we always want what we can’t have… at least right away.
This all worked out for CDPR despite the delays and bugs.
No publicity is bad publicity, right?
One thing CDPR has done well is to get as many people to talk about this game as much as possible. Even if it’s for controversial reasons.
Back in June 2019, CDPR released the controversial “Mix It Up” poster for promotion.
And the feedback was definitely… mixed.
It featured a female model with a bulging penis.
No big deal.
Trans-people also exist. And Cyberpunk 2077 has made it clear that gender is not a thing when it comes to creating your character.
However, that promotional poster got some critical feedback. Despite trying to represent trans-people in the game, part of the LGBT community stated the poster commodified and hypersexualized trans-people.
Which is valid because the focus is largely on her genitals.
And because of that, that attempt at controversial marketing has polarized certain political and identity demographics.
You’ve got some LGBT folks that are upset about the hypersexualization and you’ve got anti-SJW heads that don’t want gay or trans representation in “their games.”
On the other hand, some people appreciate the inclusion of trans-people. But the anti-SJW community appreciates the derisive attempt at representing trans-people upset the LGBT community.
When it comes to polarization, you have to be careful. If you know the kind of audience you want to appeal to will alienate other demographics within that market, then be ready to accept the backlash and exposure to controversy.
But even controversial marketing can have its upsides, it gets more eyes on your product, some free marketing and creates that “gotta- have-it-because it’s-illegal” effect in your market.
Cyberpunk 2077 is a Great Game that Delivered (Kinda)
With a $315 million budget that went into development and marketing, it’s safe to say that Cyberpunk 2077 is an ambitious product as a vast open-world RPG.
It’s won over 200 gaming awards and it’s delivered on gameplay, storytelling, and its technical scope (despite the numerous reports of bugs)
After reviews, it received a rating of 9/10 on IGN and 9.1 on Metacritic. Gamers are enjoying the content but the game didn’t live up to as much of the hype because of the bugs that riddle console versions.
But the fact remains, Cyberpunk 2077 was marketed as an ambitious product and it sort of delivered.
Despite the reports of bugs, CDPR already stated that Cyberpunk 2077 has already covered the costs of its $315 million budget in a single day (sales reports are still undisclosed)
And it’s been projected to sell 21 million copies over time.
I’m a great believer in having an amazing product or service that gets the job done well. It just makes advertising easier.
And if you have a product/service that delivers, it deserves marketing that can deliver that message to the masses.
The Copy Cartel can help with this if you work with us.
Constant Digital Marketing and Presence
CDPR never stopped with the ads. Like I said, I couldn’t go anywhere online without seeing multiple ads and demonstration videos.
CDPR created tons of content with:
- behind the scenes development
- gameplay trailers
- live updates via social media
They went all out with direct response digital marketing too. You could watch an ad and click on to their landing page to pre-order as well. (Johnny from The Copy Cartel spits some gems on landing pages and you can read about it here)
They also retargeted anyone that searched for Cyberpunk 2077, watched CDPR videos, or visited their website.
And that campaign will still be ongoing.
Now, whether you have a 9-figure budget for development and promotion or not, I believe every product or service can take a page out of Cyberpunk 2077’s successful campaign to execute an even better product release.
The Copy Cartel can even do that work for you.
Until then, stay blessed.
P.S. If you want to learn more about marketing strategies through copywriting, sign up for AWAI’s Accelerated Program for 6-Figure Copywriting