Activision Gets Ready To Rock Your Socks Off

Lenny Kravitz and James Franco getting booed offstage is just the first step in a global onslaught to promote the new Guitar Hero game. 

In the run-up to the relaunch of its rock star gaming franchise  (now called “Guitar Hero Live”) later this month, Activision this week unveiled a new commercial featuring rocker Lenny Kravitz and actor James Franco, playing the new game. The spot, from agency 72andSunny, features the two razzing each other for being bad at the game with knowing pop culture references (Franco at one point references a viral video of Kravitz splitting his pants on stage), while showing off the social elements and added features (such as live audience reaction) of the game for both new and old fans. 

“Both Lenny and James showcase the ability to bridge generations of past Guitar Hero players as well as new ones that will be joining the franchise,” Ian Trombetta, vp of consumer marketing for Guitar Hero Live at Activision, tells Marketing Daily. “While we were on set, we just let them loose in the living room with the game. What we captured on screen reflects the fun and social elements of the game while also bringing the primary innovation of real reactive crowds to the forefront.”

But the commercial is just the first salvo in a “very strong, 360-degree global plan” that includes dynamic media, launch and holiday retail activations and an “event strategy that includes some of the top artists in the world,” to re-establish the game in the minds of consumers, Trombetta says. 

“We are very confident that Guitar Hero Live is a game that will break through the clutter because it literally speaks to a universal music audience,” he says, adding the Guitar Hero franchise appeals to a broad audience. “Ultimately, [we] have been laser-focused on creating a game that has real innovation to champion in the marketplace, and that is exactly what we are going to do.”

Yet-to-be seen elements of the campaign include large digital and social activations (including more content featuring Kravitz and Franco), as well as partnerships with Sony, iHeartRadio, Pepsi and others and “stadium activations with some major sports teams,” Trombetto says. 

“And of course, we have blockbuster artist relationships that we are leveraging for content creation opportunities,” he says. “We are just getting started and have yet to launch any of our big digital or social activations.”

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