Xbox and Marvel Studios’ The Falcon and The Winter Soldier
Xbox launched their Next Gen console during a competitive 2020 Holiday period where consumer choice was coming down to preference, cultural relevance, and access to the titles gamers love. To overcome this challenge, Xbox set out to create a global, buzzworthy, pop-culture moment cementing Xbox Series X/S as the must-have console to enter the next generation of gaming and showcase Xbox Game Pass. Simultaneously, Marvel Studios sought big name partners to further support the marketing push for the new Disney+ series The Falcon and The Winter Soldier. With missions aligned, we jumped into action to bring this collaboration to life with the goal of creating a shareable story set inside the world of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
We follow Falcon (Anthony Mackie) as he heads to a game store to catch up on five years of gaming changes. There, he encounters a store clerk who fills him in, while trying to keep his excitement over the Avenger's appearance in check. The shop clerk, Aaron returns from an appearance in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and reveals his Xbox gamertag to be "NoobMaster69" in reference to a fan-favorite scene from Avengers: Endgame featuring Thor playing a trash-talking player with the same screen name. Xbox recognized and leveraged the deep fandom and cultural equity of Marvel to reach Xbox and Marvel fans alike and to show off the newest console and some of the most popular games available on Xbox Game Pass, including Halo: Master Chief Collection, Forza Horizon 4, and Destiny 2: Beyond Light.
Our two custom spots launched one week after the other across three global markets – US, UK, and AU –in the lead-up to the highly anticipated premiere of Marvel Studios’ The Falcon and The Winter Soldier. The :45s “What Did I Miss” closely followed by the :60s “Super Hero Stuff” held a mix of targeted high-impact digital and social placements driving conversation and sharing across Twitter, YouTube, Facebook/Instagram, and Programmatic. All media linked to a custom Xbox.com landing page allowing consumers and fans to explore the partnership and Xbox products at a deeper level. Strategic high-impact placements and social takeovers ensured visibility to kick-start social sharing, fan engagement/reactions, and theories in order to drive additional conversation. Xbox powered up the campaign with a custom Xbox Live Experience, accessible through Xbox console, promoting the release of the series on Disney+ and included an exclusive Xbox Live gameplay session.
Fans were not disappointed, even playfully teasing that Xbox Series X/S and Xbox Game Pass are “canon” with the Marvel Universe. The content had more views than the Super Bowl and the Oscars combined. Global coverage including Buzzfeed and Adweek, combined with persistent social conversation that led to authentic fan engagements and creator commentary on TikTok, cementing the campaign as one of Disney+’s most influential co-promotions ever.