Since the boom in Zoom and similar services, we are no longer strangers to our streams being interrupted by cats, babies and significant others who somehow failed to get dressed today.
But not usually zombies.
Zombie Frank is, you guessed it, a zombie who is a featured in the game West of Dead; a twin-stick, roguelike, shooter released in June 2020.
On January 27th 2021, Leahviathan (a prolific streamer on Twitch) partnered with Raw Fury and Pringles (Kelloggs) to launch a marketing campaign organised by Grey. She began playing West of Dead on a live stream, and popped a can of Pringles. The surprise for viewers, was that that Frank would crawl out of Leah’s screen, looking like he was ready to attack her, before revealing that he was actually there to chomp down on his favourite snack: Pringles.
The two became great friends, playing games for hours, chatting with the audience and providing a strange and unusual new kind of streaming entertainment. Later Frank went on to tour around Europe, visiting seven other streamers along the way.
Leahviathan’s stream surpassed expectations that evening, reaching the top ten most-watched streams globally with over 780,000 views, 6 years of combined viewing time and over 4000 chat messages. "Meet Frank" also started trending on Twitter, drawing a strong audience into the conversation. The day after the stream, Xbox, Kellogg and Raw Fury collaborated on an advert featuring Frank coming back for another snack, which reached over 400,000 views.
Breaking the 4th wall is a popular trope among the gaming audience, but Grey went one step further with this campaign, letting Frank not just break the 4th wall, but crawl out of it, and straight into our hearts.
Cheers Frank, nicest zombie I ever met 😌 pic.twitter.com/OIc0LpqQ74— Leah Alexandra (@leahviathan) February 11, 2021
But how did they achieve such a large engagement? Prior to this stream, several things had to happen.
Firstly significant effort went into designing and planning Frank's activities. Due to COVID restrictions, the studio pushed remote working boundaries by producing a custom set and filming over the course of seven days, supported by Video Village based in London.
Several tweets laid the groundwork publicly, hinting at something significant set to debut during the stream. The homepage of Twitch in particular was then key, as it reaches audiences across the whole platform, drawing in thousands of additional viewers. This combination of careful planning, good creative, and Twitch's reach created a massive marketing moment.
Hi! It’s #Frank! The endless zombie. I escaped from @WestofDeadGame 2 weeks ago and been in the human world ever since, making friends, starring in ads, playing games. Mostly eating #Pringles. @xbox @Pringles_Uk @Doigby @DonReborn2 @IceManLucky @RevedTV @Mandzio @yaraskygaming pic.twitter.com/gTUbOmmwjB— Raw Fury (@RawFury) February 10, 2021
The follow-up was also impressive. Not content with bringing Frank to life and having him interact with real-life players, he was then returned to the game world of West of Dead, complete with a new set of personality traits obtained in the our world. Motion capture was used to really bring him to life on his return, making it a fun little easter egg for Frank fans, and the subject of ongoing conversation on social media.
The campaign was also wildly successful for Pringles, standing out as a breakthrough moment for brand partnerships on Twitch and between games and snack brands in general. Twitch's collaboration with Pringles was recognised in The Drum Awards for categories including Best Interactive Entertainment and Most Innovative use of New Social Platforms.