Viral Visionaries

Chuck Norris, Sports Cars and Dinosaurs: How to run a Creative Influencer Campaign

Chuck Norris, Sports Cars and Dinosaurs: How to run a Creative Influencer Campaign

The influencer space is so fresh and unique - which means it's marketing often has to be creative to make an impact. 

This week, we asked our Viral Visionaries about their most wonderful and wacky campaigns, what they did, and whether their ideas were successful. Get inspired! 

If you've conducted or been a part of an interesting campaign and you'd like to share it with us, we'd love to hear from you! Email our editor at [email protected] 


Veera Rouvinen Community Manager Traplight Games

For the launch of our first User-Generated Content game Big Bang Racing, we ran a campaign with multiple influencers. We organised a pre-launch event and flew a bunch of them to Finland. This turned out to be the best thing we’ve done so far with influencers: As a result we got loads of amazing feedback on how to improve the game from influencer’s point of view. We added features and custom assets for them based on the feedback, and these features that enabled them to make really engaging and fun content for their fans.

We for example set up cross-promotional feature where the Youtuber’s channel link is visible everywhere in the game next to their player name. When we create branded Tournaments for them or promote the levels they have created in-game, we are also driving traffic from our game to their channels. As a result of custom assets that the Youtuber’s could gift to their fans we got about a dozen videos with hundreds of thousands of views created free of charge. The cross promotional tool we set up has been useful for attracting small and medium influencers to create content of our game as well. We will definitely keep influencer events and consultation as an important part of both our game development and our influencer campaigns in the future.

Jon Howard Head of PR/Influencer Relations Flaregames

Releasing Nonstop Chuck Norris alongside the man himself presented a lot of opportunity for creativity! Aside from the traditional marketing trailer beats at announcement and launch, plus other PR videos, our top-line direction for the campaign was Mr. Norris calling out the internet’s biggest stars and challenging them to achieve ridiculous/impossible feats. Whether it was testing the martial arts skills of Smosh Games, calling out key influencers on Twitter to design new in-game content, or even bringing content creators to Mr. Norris’ house for “training”, every activity had the same core message behind it.

While the campaign achieved the sort of mass visibility we’d hoped for, working with such an internet icon opened a lot of avenues in terms of channels/individual creators who wanted to be a part of the campaign.

Stefano Petrullo Founder Renaissance PR

I think creativity has to be a process, and I would find it difficult to find the best example as every game is a bit different and every campaign unique in their own terms. What I found interesting and useful though is that if you lay down enough in advance your bread and butter elements of when/how announcement/preview/review happens then you can be really creative, digging into the products element and try to make it unique, relevant and interesting.

One example I remember is The Town of Light (developed by LKA, published by Wired Production). The game is based on mental health and mental history treatment from the 40s, in Italy. The team researched the history of patients and the history of the Volterra Asylum. We had to examine the cliché of asylum in the game context and the idea of the definition of horror in gaming with respect and to avoid to spoil the really sensitive topic the game covered.

Digging into the research the developer did, we wanted to tell a story based on real fact and location which culminated in a lot of qualitative coverage, raising attention on Mental Health and led to a charity collaboration organized by the game publisher, Wired Production. We bring media to the actual Volterra Asylum, and visited the location that has been recreated in the game. The developer has also produced a “live action” trailer on the location as well as having one of the biggest German YouTubers streaming the game. Now, this for me is creativity applied in a very thoughtful way on a topic not necessarily easy to tackle.

Jodi Sahlin Head of Influencer Marketing Space Ape Games

I think the most creative and ambitious campaign I have ran with Space Ape has to be the Fastlane launch campaign. We chose 20 of the most interested top influencers for the campaign. From that point, we created in-game characters to represent their likeness and put them in the game as bosses. Keeping the influencers personalities in mind, we leveraged their individual quirky sense of humor in the art and in the storyline. Multiple angles were driving this campaign.

1 - We ran a charity drive contest incentivizing the influencers to ask their fanbase to choose their character as an avatar in-game. At the end of the month, whoever had their avatar picked the most, we 'adopted' a monkey from the local sanctuary (Monkey World) and renamed the monkey after their channel.

2 - Since the game wasn't very watchable, we wanted to create a real-life event that tied into gameplay. Each channel has their own unique catchphrase, superstition, or inside joke that only their core audience would understand. We wanted to capture the essence of whatever that was for the individual channel and tie that into this event.

In real life, we snail mailed the influencer monkey costumes. I wanted to create this unusual situation where this random monkey was showing up in their videos and stealing this item that represented their joke. In turn, the influencer would ask their community to try and get this item back by playing the launch event in game where the pickup item, was the item that the monkey stole. The event rotated through all 20 influencers. After an objective was complete, the influencers in-game character dialogue would hand off to the next influencer.

3 - Each influencer had their own weekend-long in-game event. They incentivized their community to participate by provoking them to use a 'lootlink' or an install link that would award them a boost if used. We found through previous campaigns that incentivizing the link was the best way to really track their performance.

4 - Upon launch, we branded an open top bus with the influencers characters and some Fastlane art. We brought in the worlds fastest rapper, Harry Shotta (who at the time went viral for throwing a 'rave on the tube') to throw a rave on the branded bus. A handful of the influencers joined this party as we cruised around London for 6 hours, stopping at specific points of interest where we created scenes like a massive flashmob with a monkey and a street dance party. I worked closely with Harry Shotta to create a rap song that captured all of the essence of Influencer events, their names, and the event about the monkey. You can also find this song in game.

This campaign is still running, but was mostly front loaded at launch where it would see the most value. We saw insanely high retention rates on D1 through D7 from their attributed users. The campaign was the most successful UA platform in regards to installs through D7.

Brian Dodge CEO Spartan Elite

I've done alot of creative campaigns but I'd say one of the most fun ones was for Blizzard/Hearthstone we had several of the top Clash guys (Nickatnyte, Molt, Clash with Cam, & Chief Pat) team up with the top Hearthstone talent to run a ninja warrior course in blow up dino suits. It was all meant to just bring publicity to the new update and it did! The views were solid on the campaign and Blizzard was happy to work with the talent to create such fun content for there existing fans! It’s always a good time when DINO SUITS are involved! 

Pascal Clarysse CMO-at-large Eden Games

Pascal Clarysse started looking for so-called Growth Hacks a good decade before the buzzword was coined.

Clarysse used to be the marketing driving force at, where he was in charge of relentlessly spotting new trends, waves and magic holes. In recent years, he's served as a marketing consultant for various indie studios, participating in launching mobile games and the occasional Kickstarter campaign.

"Yes, daddy. You've already told us a thousand times." That will be my kids' reaction some day about the Pagani Huayra Roadster launch campaign I did last March.

The Pagani Huayra Roadster is valued at US$ 2.5M, there are only 100 in the world, each of them with unique bespoke traits, and each of them sold out before release date. There's nothing more exclusive than this in the automotive world. 3 days before Geneva, we were blessed to take a bunch of YouTubers from around the world, including my personal favorites for any collab, the F2 Freestylers, in order to unveil the car from the Pagani workshop in Modena, a few days before press reveal at Geneva Motor Show. The combined audience of the campaign was over 30M.

We also had the chance to take the YouTubers for a spin at the iconic Modena race track that day, in a Pagani Huayra BC, with GT1 champion Andrea Palma as a driver. We took them all for 3 laps that they'll never forget in their lives. First lap, they were playing the game Gear.Club, which was integrated in the campaign in a way that felt authentic, spectacular and non-intrusive. The game component made the whole thing totally 360° as the car was launching in real life and digital world simultaneously, which represented a crazy challenge for both companies involved, Pagani and Eden Games. They also were video trailers of the game on the Pagani booth at Geneva Motor Show.

It's the kind of campaigns one never forgets. Especially if you go back to the paper plans we had made about everything that could go wrong, and how it ended up going as smooth as a baby's skin. And also, when taking in consideration the fact it took a year and a half - and a good dozen rejections - to finally find a not-too-conservative car manufacturer to agree on doing this crazy stunt with us. Sometimes the planets are aligned. For me, it was for this campaign. Even the weather was sunny! And we racked in tremendous spectated value as well as downloads during the week of the campaign.

Macy Mills Head of Business Development GameInfluencer

We recently did a community contest for Ponos's mobile game The Battle Cats.

The Battle Cats, with its flashy graphics and wacky humor, is really perfect for Influencer Marketing. We wanted to get as much user interaction as possible, while reaching a sizable branding effect. We came up with the idea for a contest in which users designed their own creative, funny, and extravagant Battle Cats and the winner's character was implemented into the game. The designs were published on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram via the #NextBattleCat. The contest was promoted by YouTube stars DanAndPhilGAMES, with a Let´s Play video and social media push.

The community participation in the contest was overwhelming with over 3,000 people submitting their concepts.The art team of The Battle Cats chose the best character as the winner, who will soon be added as a playable game character. Runner-ups in the contest were rewarded with in-game currency.

Ponos also created a website for the contest which explained the details and where you now can find the winners.

Jiri Kupiainen CEO Matchmade

Jiri is the founder of Shark Punch, a transatlantic game development company working on a game about bank robberies in the 70s.

He was the CEO and a founder of the cross-platform gaming pioneer Rocket Pack, which was acquired by Disney in 2011.

He has been part of the Finnish games industry for almost 14 years, but currently resides in San Francisco because the weather in Helsinki sucks.

We've been working with What the Hen! creators Charged Monkey for a long time, and they almost always create a unique character for each influencer they work with. It's a relatively small amount of work for them, and the influencers and their fans love it. The game also has a very distinctive visual style and the team has a Disney background, which obviously helps.

For one channel's first video they added the influencer into the game as a summoner who spawns troops on the battlefield. The video instantly outperformed all other recent videos on the channel, and things ended up escalating to a point where they added multiple characters/cards just for that influencer, and What the Hen! videos became the most popular series on the channel.

We did also deliver one of Jodi's monkey costumes to an influencer who was visiting Finland, but that falls a bit outside of our core business activities!


Danielle Partis is editor of and former editor of She was named Journalist of the Year at the MCV Women in Games Awards 2019, as well as in the MCV 30 under 30 2020. Prior to Steel Media, she wrote about music and games at Team Rock.