[Paid Media]: The Staggering Rise of Raid: Shadow Legends

How successful is the advertising campaign of one of the most well-known mobile games?

If you have spent any time following technology or gaming youtubers over the past year, you have almost certainly heard of “Raid: Shadow Legends.” Raid, released in 2018, is a mobile game developed by Plarium that has pursued an infamously aggressive marketing campaign since then. Their marketing has been so intrusive that they’ve elevated themselves to meme status.

How did they accomplish this? Well, throughout Raid’s brief yet poignant advertising existence, Plarium has focused primarily on paid-media advertising using YouTube. This means YouTube ads and, despite a bizarre lie tweeted out by Plarium, sponsorships of YouTube influencers. Creators as well-known as MrBeast have accepted sponsorship offers to promote the game, leading to wide-spread brand awareness for Plarium. You can see his sponsorship below.

A MrBeast Raid: Shadow Legends Sponsorship Video

Many advertising campaigns make the mistake assuming that they can tell their audience what to believe. If possible, it is important to show rather than tell. If your game has amazing graphics, talking about how amazing they are will never be as powerful as showing the graphics themselves. In sponsored videos (like the one shown above), Plarium make sure that the influencers promoting their content show actual gameplay. Smart.

It’s not only sponsorships working effectively for Plarium. In addition, Plarium has also gained traction from their YouTube advertisements. Take a look at the example below.

What did you think? Did you like the ad?

Humor is important in communication. It is a universal human emotion with strong power to instantly bring people together. However, where many advertising campaigns go wrong is with humor that doesn’t speak to the audience. The humor must be used to tell a story. The comedy cannot be relied on to play the role of beginning, middle, and end of the ad.

This advertisement does a good job of utilizing funny, relatable relationship humor to tell a story. It uses comedy to invite the audience to learn more about the game. While chuckling at the jokes, you are also appreciating the graphics and animations of the characters. While snickering at the arguing, you are also introduced to the idea of “dungeon runs” and the autonomy you have to build whatever team you want. Humor is used as a catalyst to introduce the audience to broader aspects of the game and of the story. This is appropriately used humor in an advertisement. As a result, you likely had a positive view of the ad. You may have even continued browsing some of the other advertisements in the playlist.

This YouTube-centric paid advertising campaign has undoubtedly been successful. While it is true that not everyone is buying into the advertising, enough people were taking notice to skyrocket Raid to a top-100 game on the Apple App Store in July. The app has undeniably risen from total obscurity to household-name status in the mobile-gaming community after only about a year’s time through smart, aggressive paid media campaigns.