Wooga Switchcraft Case Study: CGI Game Trailer and Ad Creative

 

No matter your budget or your IP, in the current mobile advertising ecosystem your best-performing Facebook ad has about ten weeks before creative fatigue sets in. 85-95% of new creative concepts fail to outperform your best ad and finding your next winner takes 20-50 new original concepts. In the face of IDFA loss and media buying automation, finding high-quality top-of-funnel users is critical for profitable user acquisition.

Our Ad Concept Model targets valuable users through tailored motivational drivers paired with creative trends. This process yields fresh creative concepts for ongoing testing while maintaining advertising profitability at scale. For our client Wooga, we developed over 50 new ad concepts, over 150 video ads, and the official 30-second CGI game trailer for their popular mobile game Switchcraft.

 

View the Wooga Switchcraft Game Trailer

Created by Consumer Acquisition by Brainlabs

Here’s how we helped bring new players to Wooga Switchcraft through thumb-stopping ad creative and a magical, cinematic game trailer.

Challenge

Casual games studio Wooga was seeking compelling ad creative for the soft launch of their first story-driven puzzle match-3 game, Switchcraft. Striving for market differentiation among competitors such as Gardenscapes, Lily’s Garden, and Small Town Murders, Wooga wanted to highlight their dramatic relationship-driven storyline, diverse characters, and magical gameplay.

Switchcraft gameplay combined match-3 puzzles, progressive narrative choices, and spellcasting minigames. Nuanced character rigging and fluid animation would be required to bring their evocative, painterly art style to life alongside 3D cinematics that combined realism with comic-book aesthetics.

Solution

Using our Ad Concept Model, we systematize creative development and UA targeting so our clients get reliable top-performing creative in the most cost-efficient and scalable way. These are the steps within the model:

  1. Analyze competitor and creative trends to build on what’s working
  2. Collaborate with client to identify user motivations and target personas
  3. Create concepts at the intersection of trends and motivations
  4. Test to learn what works and document process to ensure knowledge transfer
  5. Optimize to do more of what works and iterate

 

Analyzing Creative Trends

Researching what creative is working and what isn’t across the category helps identify creative trends to build on. As a narrative-based match-3 mobile game with magical gameplay mechanics, there were many popular creative trends to build on for Switchcraft. Some Match-3 creative trends included:

  • Puzzles: Locks & Gates and other puzzles that challenge users to free a game character (Fishdom, Gardenscapes, Homescapes, many others)
  • Picker Videos: 3D or 2D situations with pickers, often resulting in disastrous fails. (Township, Sweet Escapes, Manor Cafe, many others)
  • Hidden Items: Videos or still images that contain hidden items the user must find. (Meow Match, June’s Journey)
  • Design Challenges: Tasks that must be completed within an allotted time or budget. (Design Home, Sweet Escapes)
  • Real Player Gameplay: Split screen featuring a player and gameplay. (Jelly Juice)
  • Female-Centered Vignettes: Women overcoming adversity and men behaving badly in soap opera situations. (Lily’s Garden, Choices, Vineyard Valley, My Home: Design Dreams)
  • Choose Your Adventure: Series of situations where you choose between two actions. (Choices, Episode)
  • Game Controller: Picker that mimics a game console, guiding character through levels. (Candy Crush, Hustle Castle)
  • Lifestyle and Gameplay: Showing lifestyle footage and gameplay that matches image (Toon Blast, Farm Hero Saga)
  • Gameplay + Side Character: Gameplay elements leave the screen to interact with characters (Candy Blast Mania, Candy Smash Mania)
  • Mixing Gameplay with Narrative: Storybook narration, Coloring book style (Bubble Witch Saga)
  • 3D effect: Characters “floating” above gameplay (Farm Heroes Saga)
  • Incorporating Game to Solve a Problem: Using gameplay to find the key to escape a room (Candy Smash mania)

Some Romance and Narrative creative trends included:

  • Choosing what’s next from the player POV to direct narrative while interacting with the game’s characters
  • Game trailer/overview that showcases user experience, core objectives, and other game features
  • Fashion and style challenges
  • Using social media or texting to convey the narrative or primary message
  • Character focus using countdowns, origin stories
  • Vignettes featuring short character scenarios or stories
  • Achievement opportunities like level progression to unlock more of the story
  • Success vs. Fail gameplay contrasting experienced and amateur players

 

Identifying User Motivations

As consumer marketing has grown up, we’ve learned there is no perfect Pepsi, but there are perfect Pepsis for particular palates; the same goes for products in any market. Before building out a matrix for a particular set of ad concepts, we identify different motivations driving our user personas and break down those motivations by underlying values and desires. Below we’ve included motivational triggers for mobile game players.

Standard gaming motivations

Creating Concepts

We map identified motivations to creative trends within the category to develop and iterate on different concepts. In the empty model below, each box represents a different ad creative concept, supporting nearly 50 concepts by pairing eight trends with six motivations. While not all creative trends will work persuasively with each motivation, we can expand our concepts even further by targeting specific personas within each pairing. Based on personas, we develop a bespoke creative strategy targeting behaviors, triggers, and preferences.

Ad Concept Model

 

Results

Nathalie Wood, Marketing Manager at Wooga said:

“Consumer Acquisition was able to provide us with fresh, breakthrough ad creative that performed to meet different goals, from installs at scale to targeting high-value players. We were truly impressed by how Consumer Acquisition took our 2D assets and brought them to life. The creative process was collaborative and Consumer Acquisition tested all types of concepts and art styles to ensure we found what worked best. For our official game trailer, Consumer Acquisition created compelling 3D assets from scratch under a very tight deadline and we are thrilled with how it turned out. Consumer Acquisition’s commitment to creative research and rigorous creative testing was evident in the excellent results.”

wooga switchcraft

Through our creative partnership with Wooga, Consumer Acquisition developed a 30-second CGI game trailer, 50 original concepts, and over 150 videos. We created entirely original 3D computer animation along with motion graphics, 2D animation and FX, text animations, lighting effects, character rigging, illustrations, and character design.

wooga switchcraft

Breaking out game mechanics and themes, we created and tested ad creative that focused on different aspects of the game. Individual concepts focused on themes of love, mystery, drama, or magic. Or, game mechanics of match-3 puzzles, spellcasting, and narrative choices.

 

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