Candy Crush Saga has become one of the biggest and most popular games on the mobile market. So, not only is it important that developers ensure that content is kept fresh for players, but marketing plays an essential role in helping to retain fans and ensure that new ones continue to catch the bug.
We caught up with Candy Crush Saga’s VP of marketing, Luken Aragon, to discuss winning at the Mobile Game Awards in the best marketing/PR category and the secrets behind Candy Crush Saga’s winning marketing strategy.
Pocketgamer.biz: Congrats on your award! What do you think put King at the top of the pile and winners in the MGA Best Marketing/PR category?
Luken Aragon: At the heart of our Candy Crush 10 Years of Fun campaign was the celebration of a huge milestone for us at King, that Candy Crush Saga turned ten years old - one that we are all immensely proud of. Every area of the business came together to mark the occasion, creating a truly integrated campaign that showcased everything that makes Candy Crush Saga so special, the people behind the game, the game itself and, of course, our players.
Tell us about your activity this last year celebrating Candy Crush Saga’s anniversary?
We wanted to celebrate ten years of Candy Crush Saga in a way that lives up to the joy and playfulness that the game brings to the world. An ambition of this scale required cross-functional collaboration with media, social, brand, PR, corporate communications, and game teams with a high level of integration.
In-game, we launched a number of new features to delight our players, including a revamp of our music and audio for the first time since the game launched, as well as an exclusive in-game event, ‘Candy Cup’, in partnership with pop star Meghan Trainor.
As part of the partnership, Meghan Trainor launched her new music video, “Made You Look,” exclusively in-game for 24 hours before it was available anywhere else. She also recorded all eight in-game lexicons and was candified to join Tiffi for a full in-game integration.
In October, we ran an exciting creator-lead campaign, Candy Cave, an initiative to give aspiring content creators the chance to win a creator fund that enabled them to bring their Candy Crush Saga fantasies to life. Six budding content creators were invited to pitch their wildest Candy Crush themed fantasies to a panel of funny judges.
The success of any marketing campaign comes down to people.Luken Aragon
We brought the magic of the game to the outside world too, launching a visual out of home campaign with a series of billboards in the UK and US, highlighting everyday situations where patterns, similar to ones you would see in Candy Crush Saga, appeared, reinforcing that wherever you are, you can still play.
Finally, to conclude our 10th Anniversary Celebrations and mark National Candy Day in the US, we produced a dazzling drone show with 500 drones recreating the Candy Crush gameplay in the sky across the Hudson River in New York.
What do you think is key to a successful marketing campaign?
A number of things, everything from the initial planning stages to the final execution. However, the success of any marketing campaign comes down to people - both the talented marketers who bring it to life and the people it reaches. At King, our mission is Making the World Playful, which shows through our marketing efforts. We believe that in always putting fun at the forefront of what we do, we will successfully stimulate emotion and establish resonance with our audience, resulting in longer term affinity and engagement.
What kind of planning goes into creating the Candy Crush 10 Years of Fun campaign? How many people across which countries?
It’s a huge effort, but a rewarding one, with our talented employees continuing to be the key to our success. While we don’t give specific numbers on each team, I can tell you we have around 2000 employees across the King business, with offices in London, Berlin, Barcelona, Stockholm, Malmö, Malta, Dublin, New York, and San Francisco.
What makes King different? How would you describe the company and its culture?
It may sound cliche to say this, but it really is our people. They help shape a culture that is a special blend of creativity, passion, and collaboration. Being a Kingster isn’t only what you do, it’s also how you do it. This allows everyone to thrive, feel proud to belong, hold each other accountable and craft brilliant games of mass appeal that bring moments of magic to everyday life.
If there was one thing you could change about mobile - the platforms, the stores, the games - what would you change to make everyone's experience even better?
At King, we always put the player first, creating new content that keeps players engaged and coming back for more. We have an ambitious vision for the future of mobile games and through our continued investment in AI & ML, we will continue to enhance and evolve our business and iconic games to ensure we delight King’s millions of players even more. That will be exciting to explore!
Players are at the heart of everything we do at King.Luken Aragon
Why do you think a game like Candy Crush is so popular and well loved?
Players are at the heart of everything we do at King. The Candy Crush team has worked hard over the last 10 years to continuously innovate, keeping things fresh for new and existing players by adding new content, features and in-game events. Everything from the game’s interface to the free-to-play, match-three puzzle design have helped Candy Crush maintain its status as one of the most played mobile games year in and year out. We look forward to doing the same for the next 10 years.
What's next from you guys? Anything you've got coming up that you can share with us?
While we have nothing to announce today, and can’t reveal anything upcoming, we are always working on new content for our live franchises developing a focused pipeline of new games, all to surprise and delight our players. Candy Crush Saga just had a Music Season with a collaboration with the Jonas Brothers, and got them ‘candified’, as well as debuting their new tracks "Summer Baby" and "Sail Away" exclusively for 24 hours before being available to stream anywhere else.