London commuters might have noticed Winston Churchill and Oliver Cromwell riding a cartoon tank in recent weeks.
It’s an eye-catching ad and one that’s part of a massive games marketing campaign, but it’s not for the traditional war games like Call of Duty or Medal of Honor – it’s for World of Tanks.
The ads can be found on digital billboards around London Underground stations, online and in specialist gaming magazines and promote the new British collection that has been added to the hugely popular free-to-play game from Wargaming.net.
It is also designed to reach beyond the usual hardcore gaming crowd and broaden the title’s audience, calling to them with the UK-specific tagline "Best of British".
The campaign kicked off in November, and includes to TV and video-on-demand ads. It will run throughout this month, and is part of Wargaming.net’s push to target specific territories.
"So far, all of our campaigns have used the generic key art creative and just targeted gamers," the firm’s global brand director Al King told MCV.
"With our new target segments, including militaria segments, we felt the need to do a territory and segment specific campaign."
King adds that the Best of British campaign has been inspired by "Britain’s attitude towards tanks, its sophisticated sense of patriotism and its Python-esque humour".
It marks the beginning of a new approach to marketing World of Tanks, which already boasts 40m registered users. King and his team are watching the public’s response carefully as their plan their next advertising assault.
"We will do more of the stuff that works and drop the stuff that didn’t," he explained.
"We’ll also consider using territory-specific and segment-specific creative in other markets. And we’ll definitely be driving more tanks around European capitals."