Mobile, Social Gamer Kabam Tries TV Ads

With the increasing popularity of mobile gaming (and the propensity of people to multitask with their smartphones and tablets while watching TV), it’s surprising that more mobile gaming companies aren’t using television as a place to raise awareness. 

This week, free-to-play mobile game maker Kabam breaks new ground for itself, launching its first television commercial to promote one of its titles, “The Hobbit: Kingdoms of Middle-earth.” The intention is to raise awareness among those who might not be inclined to click on in-app or mobile banner ads for a game title. 

“Historically, we’ve done a lot of online and mobile advertising. This is the first time we’re doing something traditional,” Chris Pitz, vice president of marketing and publishing for Kabam, tells Marketing Daily. “We’re trying to reach people that wouldn’t normally respond to a 300-by-500-pixel banner ad on their phones.”



The commercial, which began running on cable networks such as Comedy Central and Spike this week, is fairly straightforward. In it, an elf and a dwarf argue on a park bench. As they square off (archers vs. axes), they each reach for their mobile devices (a tablet for the elf and a smartphone for the dwarf), as the commercial cuts to game play.

Noting that heading into unfamiliar media territory such as television advertising can be “scary” for a company used to online and mobile advertising, Pitz said backing a familiar and popular title made the venture a bit easier.

“We’re hoping this type of mass-market title will give us a bit of wind at our backs,” he says. (Kabam enlisted Los Angeles-area agency Ayzenberg to create the ad and navigate the unfamiliar broadcast territory.)

Although it’s too early to determine how effective the television advertisement is at attracting new players, it’s likely that Kabam and other gaming companies will begin to venture into more television advertising sooner rather than later. According to Nielsen, 85% of mobile owners use their devices while watching television once a month, and 40% do so daily. 

“It makes sense. There’s a lot of people out there using their phones while watching television,” Pitz says. “The prime time for app downloading is the same as for television.”

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