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The Ad Council, the national non-profit organization behind public service communications programs including Smokey Bear, “Friends Don’t Let Friends Drive Drunk,” and “Love Has No Labels,” announced today that it is collaborating with leading gaming companies and top gaming influencers to launch Game for Good. Collaborators include Penny Arcade, Twitch, Polaris/Maker Studios, Rooster Teeth, YouTube, 3BLACKDOT, PlayQ, Zynga and Games for Change. The unprecedented effort aims to harness the power of games and the gaming community to drive awareness, engagement and impact on the critical social issues addressed by Ad Council campaigns.
To kick off Game for Good, the Ad Council will be taking its iconic Love Has No Labels campaign to Penny Arcade Expo (PAX) West in Seattle from September 2-5, 2016. One of the largest gaming events in North America, PAX West is a celebration of gamer culture and is attended by thousands of gamers from across the country. Love Has No Labels will integrate its messages of diversity and inclusion throughout the event including: two PAX panel discussions featuring SIMS Studio Senior Producers Lyndsay Pearson and Sarah Fuchs and gamers Etika (Desmond Amofah), Annemunition, Ms. Vixen and Jimmy Wong, with the latter being streamed live on PAX’s Twitch channel; a Love Has No Labels activation in the PAX Diversity Lounge with a GIF booth and giveaways sponsored by Johnson & Johnson, a campaign partner; and post-panel discussions with Rooster Teeth’s Mica Burton in a livestream from the Expo floor. The activation will be promoted through social media using the hashtags #LoveHasNoLabels and #WeAreGamers and via the campaign and Ad Council channels.
“To really have an impact on social issues, we need to meet people where they are spending their time and for millions across the country that’s playing games online, on mobile or on consoles,” said Lisa Sherman, President and CEO of the Ad Council. “We’re thrilled to collaborate with the leaders in this space to co-create and integrate content that furthers our campaign messages in ways that are meaningful for the gaming community.”
Building on the Ad Council’s successful Creators for Good program, which matches YouTube influencers with Ad Council campaigns they care about, Game for Good will work with gaming influencers as well as publishers to reach fans of popular video game titles online and on social media. In addition, Game for Good collaborations will explore integrating campaigns into games and gaming IP into Ad Council campaigns.
“We’re thrilled to partner with the Ad Council and lend our voice to the positive message of this campaign,” said Luis Medina, Senior VP of Partnerships at Rooster Teeth. “As a woman of color in gaming, our host Mica Burton is a reflection of Rooster Teeth’s diverse community and represents the progress we want to see in our industry. We’re happy to work with this great group of partners to tell that story at PAX.”
The Ad Council produces more than 40 national fully integrated campaigns addressing issues including Bullying Prevention, Shelter Pet Adoption, Hunger Prevention, Recycling, Autism Awareness and Underage Drinking and Driving. Each public service campaign is developed by creative agencies in partnership with a leading non-profit organization or a federal government agency, such as Autism Speaks, Feeding America or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The PSAs are distributed to media outlets nationwide and are run in donated media, exceeding $1.6 billion annually.
“The Ad Council has been a longstanding advocate for building awareness regarding important social issues with Game for Good representing another noteworthy campaign,” said Erin Wayne, Lead Community Manager, Twitch. “Since we believe in cultivating a diverse and inclusive environment, Game for Good is aligned with our values and we look forward to seeing it resonate with others around the world.”
Beyond the PAX West activation, a dedicated Game for Good advisory group will work on opportunities for collaboration across many different Ad Council campaigns over the course of the next 12 months, focusing on both the PC, online and console gaming audience as well as the casual gaming audience on social media and mobile platforms.
“We’re honored to help create a home for this vital message,” said Jerry Holkins, Co-founder of Penny Arcade. “The Ad Council has done tremendous work and we are thrilled to have a stellar cause like the Game for Good campaign kick-off at PAX West.”