HOW DO YOU ACTIVATE A SELF-AWARE CHARACTER?
START WITH A SELF-AWARE CAMPAIGN.
Every morning, Guy eats the same bowl of cereal, puts on the same blue shirt, and goes to the same dead-end job. Occasionally, he gets blown up, or mugged, or spills his coffee... but as something called an NPC, he always gets to start over.
In gamer parlance, an NPC is a "non-playable character" — a forgettable after-thought who serves as fodder for the main action. By wanting to escape his destiny as an NPC, Guy's no different than the millions of fans who want to escape their daily grind, too.
And that became the mission: to help Guy break out of his rut, we had to forge a breakthrough campaign of our own.
Our campaign not only had to serve up tactics that would explode off newsfeeds like one of Free City’s errant rocket launchers, but drive interest in Guy as a hero, and Free Guy as a new IP:
- 1) Drive AAA buzz through unexpected partnerships that plug Guy into the real-world
- 2) Leverage gaming tropes and humor to bridge Free City and real-world
- 3) Connect with lapsed “Dad gamers” and Gen Z through curated content beats
- 4) Embrace the “Make it a Great Day” positivity, forging it into a call-to-action
- 5) Celebrate Guy’s can-do attitude, guts, and journey in authentic ways
- 6) Imbue Guy’s role in film as a pop-culture icon into IRL beats that do the same
Grab your blue shirt and khakis—here’s how we helped level-up one of Hollywood’s biggest new IP launches in years.
Project Free Guy Digital Content Campaign
What We Did
- WikiHow Partnership Stunt
- Ninja Collaboration
- Depop Partnership Stunt
- Social Strategy + Ideation
- Social Campaign
- IG Story Mini-Game
- IG - Disruptive Content
- Video Content
GUY GIVES A MASTERCLASS
Guy is the ultimate helpful human, but what if more of us want to be like him? As a digital stunt, we taught the masses by taking over the world's largest repository of 'how to' content, wikiHow. In a groundbreaking, 1st-ever partnership with a fictional character, Guy became a "guest expert author" on wikiHow, crafting articles that taught fans tricks of the NPC-trade such as How to Talk to Your Online Crush and How to Have A Great Day, among others.
NINJA JOINS WIKIHOW
The fun on wikiHow took off from there, as our next guest author was none other than the world's most popular gamer: Ninja. Given he's a professional gamer, we worked with Ninja to craft his own wikIHow article on how to spot a non-playable character in real-life—complete with an illustrated version of Ninja in wikiHow's iconic style.
GET YOUR GAMERTAG
Given Free Guy is all about gamers, we decided to ask the stars and minds behind the film to take a look at a batch of gaming avatars we dreamt up and designed. The goal? Give our (very weird) avatars new gamertag handles that would feel authentic online. The resulting talent day content beat was a comedic hit with core gamers—one of many small ways that Free Guy went on to become one of the most successful video game films of all-time.
GUY GETS ON DEPOP
Gen Z loves to shop on digital second-hand communities, making it the perfect place to hijack attention with an unexpected stunt—bringing Guy's wardrobe to Depop. As an unexpected twist, Guy's blue shirts were a bit... used. Run over by a train. Blown up by a grenade. Stained by coffee. Our closet of Guy's used shirts were distressed in a way that spoke to the film's humor, Guy's personality, and most of all, Free City's action.
ENTER THE FISHBOWL
Fans loved Guy's faithful fish, Goldie... In a slow-burn 5-minute video for FB Live, we brought Goldie back, planting a locked camera on his bowl to capture the insanity of a day in Free City from the POV of... a goldfish. After rebuilding Guy's apartment in 3D and casting our own fishie, we let Goldie react as rocket launchers, exploding cars, and jetpacked soldiers shook his bowl, say nothing of the city around it.
FREE GUY FIT GUIDE
Guy wears the same thing every day: khakhis, blue-shirt, tie. In the film, this NPC uniform becomes iconic, and we decided to hijack Instagram's Shopping functionality with a disruptive post that mimicked Instagram's interactive shopping posts through a faux carousel that looked shoppable, but introduced fans to each element in Guy's ensemble with a humorous caption and exclusive film clip.
In the film, Guy dies a lot. On social, we challenged fans to do the opposite—avoid that fate! Given Guy lives in a game, it was only fitting we gamified Instagram, crafting an interactive mini-game that cahllenged fans to get Guy through a day without getting hit by a train, blown up, shot, mugged... well, you get the idea.
Guy kicks off the film talking to a neighboring business owner, saying, "Mondays! Am I right, Joe?" But for someone who's entire existence is an endless loop of waking up, going to work, trying not to die, and repeating—Guy loves helping people, and brings renewed optimism to each day. Taking over #MondayMotivation, we tacked on Guy's biggest tips of advice for folks starting off their weeks—whether in Free City or elsehwere.
A NEW HIGH-SCORE:
Gaming and film fans alike rallied around their new blue-shirted hero, making Free Guy one of the biggest movies of the year:
- #1 OPENING
- #1 NEW ORIGINAL IP OF YEAR
- #1 AT-HOME