"Sea Hero Quest", Deutsche Telekom’s award-winning mobile gaming platform, shows how a brand purpose initiative can also be a popular consumer-facing proposition.
The game, which launched in May with the aim of advancing dementia research, is also a good example of collaboration across disciplines. With Saatchi & Saatchi London as lead agency, it was developed in partnership with a team of scientific researchers from University College London, The University of East Anglia and gaming experts Glitchers to help advance the understanding of spatial navigation, the loss of which is one of the first symptoms of dementia.
In its first 16 days, the game racked up more than a 1m downloads, providing scientists with 1770 years’ worth of lab-based dementia research. The game went on to win nine Cannes Lions this year.
Speaking to Campaign, Ayten Pekerman, head of international marketing communications, at Deutsche Telekom who project managed its launch explains the thinking behind the work.
"Everything that we do is around ‘Life is for sharing’ so we are always looking at how we bring it to life. Our starting point was to look for something special, something we could achieve with collaboration. As Deutsche Telekom is a technology company, we were also looking at what made sense from the customer’s point of view.
What we know at Deutsche Telekom is that a lot of people play games on mobile and on the move and that it’s 3bn hours a week.
The other area that we were looking at was where we can make a difference to peoples’ lives. Dementia is a condition where people lose their memories. We speak as a brand about sharing memories so we thought dementia could be a good area as we want to protect memories.
It was important for us to look for the right people and bring them together. There had to be a lot of trust. We are not experts in dementia research, or in neural science. We are also not an expert in gaming so we were also looking for the right gaming partner.
We focused on two different target groups to make it successful. On one hand, you have what we call the 'emotional philanthropist'. People who want to do something for a greater good, they are active, if they love the idea they connect to it. Then also we had to get the casual gamers, they are also very social, they’re connected to each other.
PR is very good to use for the philanthropists because they want to understand it, get a bit more of the background. Casual gamers - they need something they are attracted to, the collaboration with PewDiePie from the very early stages worked. He was really behind the idea.
At the end of April we soft launched in the UK and then went global. We wanted to achieve 100,000 downloads because the biggest existing research was of 599 people and we got this in 24 hours."