Are you curious about the mobile game ads that are causing a stir on Twitter?
To stand out from the competition, mobile game publishers are working hard to come up with creative strategies for their ads. From provoking visuals to funny content, mobile game ads attempt to grab the attention of potential players at all costs – and unfortunately, some are going too far.
What’s so special about the mobile game ads that are making waves on Twitter?
Well, if received positively, they may help with the game’s UA traction.
Some common characteristics of mobile game ads being shared on Twitter:
- They often rely on misleading or meta-misleading gameplay features, or not displaying any gameplay footage at all. Indeed, most game publishers do hit up a ceiling if they solely rely on honest gaming visuals.
- Many creative strategists are using love, relationships, sex and LGBTQIA+ themes in their mobile game ads. These topics almost always generate a response (sometimes – a shocking one) from ad viewers.
When it comes to creative types, some ads resort to CGI animation (Computer-generated imagery), celebrity featuring, music videos, or any other type of UGC (User Generated Content).
These ads may or may not have become hero creatives for the game publisher. But it is without a doubt that even the most peculiar mobile game ads can prove effective for user acquisition – see match-three game Project Makeover’s success for example. As Jacob Creswell explained:
“ If someone downloads a game like Lilly’s Garden but ends up not playing it after seeing the gameplay, that’s still a download. More downloads mean it’s more likely that an app will be recommended to other users, which leads to more players checking out the game.”
Replai analyzed the latest mobile game ads that dominated Twitter conversations to uncover what made them so shareable. Let’s dive right in!
1. The most talked about creative at the start of 2023: King’s Choice Ad
At the time of this writing, this simple tweet collected 6.3M Views, 44K retweet, 86.5K likes in less than 3 days.
Proof that this advertisement has gone massively viral!
What’s so special about this ad?
The ad stands out because of its comic storyline:
- A betrayed wife observes her husband with his mistress, and the player is tasked to make her more beautiful in order to reclaim her husband’s heart.
- When she finally meets him again, he falls for her anew…but then his mistress falls in love too and kicks the man out of the scene!
- The player has to choose between “Kiss her” or “Push her away” as the storyline takes a LGBTQIA twist.
Note that more and more advertisers are incorporating LGBTQIA+ themes into their ads, see:
King’s Choice ad creative deconstructed:
- Creative Type: The creative is a 3D animation with misleading simple gameplay elements (“character choices” of 2 – 3 choices (what will you do? Change/Endure – with a hand selector).
- Creative Storyline: The storyline features a mini-story revolving around a classic romance plot.
- Viewer’s expected emotion: The conclusion is humorous, so viewers should feel amused and laugh.
- Player’s Motivation: The ad relies on the player’s motivation “Self-expression” (according to Facebook’s Big Catch playbook).
In terms of creative elements:
- Pace and cuts: the ad has a rather fast pace with 7 scene cuts in 27 seconds. You gotta tell such story quickly!
- Music and sounds: The music is bouncy and cartoonish, with some comical sound effects mixed in with human laughter and sighs
- Character emotions: they mainly revolve around love, sadness, and happiness. To emphasize their feelings, symbols such as hearts, spirals, question marks and pinkish hues are added. Everything is made to make characters’ emotions clear.
Overall, the ad makes viewers feel light-hearted and bring a smile, or a laugh to their faces.
Note that King’s Choices has adopted a similar approach to their other ads, with one advertisement directly mimicking the storyline of House of the Dragon:
2. Cinema-level with Rise of Kingdom
Rise of Kingdom’s ad already collected 3M+ views on Youtube.
Through the use of cutting-edge CGI, Rise of Kingdom’s ad captivates with its immersive experience.
What’s so special about this ad? Well, it’s kind of like watching a movie – with the gameplay nicely inserted across the plot.
- In this storyline, a fragile commander (inspired by the ancient Egyptian queen) has ben reprimanded by her “prime minister” (inspired by Julius Caesar) for being unable to win the game.
- A janitor laughs at her misfortune -causing the queen’s anger- and explains to her why she is not doing well in the game: “you’re wasting resources on developing the wrong technology. So your abilities are worthless”.
- The Egyptian queen makes a bet with the janitor and will treat him as a mentor if he wins the “Alliance war”, the janitor snaps back saying that he “needs a wife not an apprentice”.
- Enters commander Marshal, with a “33 million scorepoints”, kneeling before the janitor. He pleads for him to lead the alliance in battle – and it turns out that the Janitor was actually the king who held a “50 million power”. The Egyptian Queen and Roman Commander are astonished and ask how he got to such score.
- The King explains. Thanks to the Egyptians who have 1.5% city-building and research speed bonuses, he developed a defensive wall faster, developed his military and medical tech, and unlocked a T5 unit. He then switched to the Vikings for their advanced fighting skills and tech.
- The end card shows the game on smartphone, table and desktop with the characters squeezed out of the screen.
This ad is a captivating mix of high-quality CGI and plot twist (the seemingly low-level janitor ends up being the strongest character) as well as gameplay features that highlight a “recipe” to win in the game.
Rise of Kingdom’s ad creative deconstructed
- Creative Type: The creative is a 3D animation with some quick in-game footage at the beginning and the end of the ad (at 0:03 and at 0:52)
- Creative Storyline: The storyline features a mini-story revolving around military debates with high-ranking characters (Egyptian Queen, Caesar).
- Viewer’s expected emotion: awe (the viewer feels a sense of admiration) and surprise
- Player’s Motivation: “Expertise” and “Power”. The objective of the ad is to ignite the viewer’s sense of competition.
In terms of creative elements:
- Pace and cuts: The ad is very fast paced as the storyline is dense – 33+ scene cuts in 1:16!
- Music and sound: The musical is military-like and changes significantly when Marshal enters the scene. In-game sounds, like fighting noises and bonus enhancements, are heard during gameplay footage.
- Character’s emotion: Note the cut that tackles the theme of “love” and “relationship” (0:25 – I need a wife, not an apprentice!). Also, it’s interesting to see that, like for King Choice’s ad, character emotions are enhanced with symbols and emojis. Characters’ name and power ranks are also well-highlighted.
- Gameplay features: The gameplay footage shows scenes of fights, power build-up (technology) and resources collection, along with meta-elements showing various maps.
- Ad tactic: The ad indirectly discusses the best ways to win at the game- it’s a trendy narrative among mobile game ads (“you’re wasting resources on developing the wrong technology.”).
- End card: the end card is humoristic with a mobile screen squeezing itself to release the characters.
The characters then take different funny poses.
Overall, Rise of Kingdom’s creative captivates the audience, drawing them in like a movie would. It also heightens the viewer’s sense of competition through its characters, while game mechanisms and tips are smartly featured. The characters have been beautifully animated with expressive faces and dynamic poses that truly bring them to life!
3. Twerk Race 3D’s Goofy Ad
Twerk race 3D is a funny hypercasual game that combines twerking and running. The player runs to collect dumbbells (in the real game) to boost their bum and competes in “twerking fights”.
The advertisement for this zany game showcases goofy gameplay elements without any extra CGI or animation. Only some game components are slightly modified (e.g. going through math numbers in the run).
What’s so special about this ad?
Well, it’s truly peculiar!
- The character itself is some sort of green alien resembling Shrek in a purple costume with red heels. His/her moves are of the strangest (note the eccentric dance at the end).
- The character’s bottom is like two balloons that are either rising or sinking
- The background outside the running track has a Halloween theme (this tweet is from 28 Oct 2022).
- After a race to the finish line, the character enters a “Twerk battle” house, where he/she faces off an opponent whom he/she boots off the ring with his/her bum (this is in the actual game!).
- The character performs a peculiar dance followed with a “You Win” message.
It’s interesting to see how some mobile game ads often make their character perform weird dance moves when they win:
This ad demonstrates how basic gameplay can still make a hit creative. The gameplay in the ad isn’t far off the real game. It shows that hypercasual games’ mechanics and themes are tightly linked to their advertisements.
Take a look at this other recent hypercasual example for reference – using truthful gameplay:
Combining an endless runner with a twerk competition in your game might sound like a weird idea, but if you get traction from your mobile ad, you can quickly scale with user acquisition!
Twerk Race 3D’s ad creative deconstructed
- Creative Type: The creative is a 3D gameplay footage with some fake meta-elements (instead of collecting dumbbells, the ad shows math calculations such as x2, +68, etc.).
- Creative Storyline: There is none – it’s just an example of a game level.
- Viewer’s expected emotion: surprise (to say the least).
- Player’s Motivation: “Escapism”: the player wants to be distracted and escape a certain reality.
In terms of creative elements:
- Pace and cuts: Short, moderate pace, with only one cut (entrance fo the Twerk competition)
- Music and sound: The music has a Halloween theme. There is only one sound, when the character’s bottom hits his/her opponent as he is knocked out of the ring.
- Character’s emotion: None. This ad doesn’t rely on the common love/relationship theme, but still has an allusion to body parts – that of ballooning one’s derrière. There is still some sort of sexual connotation present.
- Creative objects: The creative showcases many Halloween elements such as thunderstrikes, graveyards, naked trees, dark clouds, pumpkins and cobwebs. There are also some people raising their hands to hint the place is like a nightclub.
- End card: There is a simple “You Win” message – the advertiser decided to end up with a positive outcome instead of a negative one.
In conclusion, the goal of this ad is to showcase a game that holds true to its goofy and unusual vibes.
4. Music video for One Punch Man Mobile game
As the highly anticipated official mobile game of One Punch Man – The Strongest launched in June 2022, FingerFun Limited created engaging ads that would help sustain user acquisition.
The result is a funny music video that didn’t get unnoticed on Twitter:
The video got 3.9M organic views on Twitter.
What’s so special about this ad?
This humorous rap music video appears to have nothing to do with the game itself, but it’s funny to watch.
- It’s a real-life ad, with a funny guy dressed up as One Punch Man’s main character (Saitama).
- He enters a cafe where one man doesn’t recognize him but a woman with a hat clearly knows who he is and exclaims “Wow! One Punch Man!” while playing the game on her phone. For just an instant you can catch glimpses of gameplay featuring the IP’s most iconic characters.
- The rap music dance ensues, with a few side people displaying a very amateurish performance. Saitama cheerfully states “it’s a good game” while holding his phone and showing short fighting footage. They highlight that the game is FREE -– a common technique when real-life guys promote games!
- The music continues and showcases the characters you can get if you stick to the game every day (retention!)
- The music ends with all the performers raising their fists in the air.
- The end card includes an animation of the game logo with icons to both Google Play and App Store, plus a search bar with the game’s title as prompt.
This 35-second creative is assumingly a great format to test for CTV ads. Although there is minimal game footage, the IP of One PunchMan effectively utilizes viewers’ familiarity (or lack thereof) with the manga/anime.
One Punch Man’s ad creative deconstructed
- Creative Type: The creative is a real life footage with some (rare) game footage shown from a phone.
- Creative Storyline: In a classic music video fashion, the plot is simple: A man appears in an odd outfit at a bar and is asked who he is before beginning to sing.
- Viewer’s expected emotion: surprise – the ad may come up as unexpected to some.
- Player’s Motivation: no player motivation is highlighted here – you just download the game because “it’s a good game”.
In terms of creative elements:
- Pace and cuts: The pace is moderate, with many cuts (19 scene cuts on a 35 sec. video).
- Music and sound: The music is 90’s like.
- Characters’ emotion: This ad isn’t relying on any romantic elements to carry its message. Perhaps the girl in the video is a big fan of “One Punch Man” and she’s showing her interest before anyone else has noticed him.
- Creative background: it’s a classic 90’s bar with posters on the walls, vivid lights, double entry doors.
- Characters look and feel: chic dresses, bowties, black hats, clumsy rap dancing. The main character looks at the camera to say “Let’s get started”, and “it’s a good game”/
- Gameplay footage: either showing some gameplay footage directly from the phone, or displaying in-game elements as video overlays.
(Interestingly, other advertisers would feature gameplay components within the video and add real-life figures on top).
- End card: IP-focused with iOS/Google Play icons and no direct CTA – which leads us to believe that this ad would be ideal for CTV campaigns.
At the end of the day, this ad’s purpose is to make viewers laugh with assumed amateurism.
There are just a few selling points to push viewers to download the game – it is assumed that the IP will sell by itself.
MOBILE GAME ADS GONE WRONG – THE ADS HARMING THE INDUSTRY
Certain mobile game publishers will stop at nothing to draw in user attention and engagement, even if it means using obscene ad creatives.
This type of advertising is heavily frowned upon by many within the industry for its unethical nature.
Appodeal’s recent blog post laid emphasis on the alarming trend of body shaming and sexualized content in mobile game ads. Even when disapproval towards such advertisements arises, highly successful games like Project Makeover or Episode still continue to use them – proving it is not enough to simply express outrage.
This indicates that we need a more effective method for combating unethical advertising practices. UK regulators are taking notice of this phenomenon and have announced that they will be strictly enforcing the ban of “sexist” mobile game advertisements in September 2022.
Matej Lancaric, a mobile game industry expert, has urged companies and their UA teams to stop with sexist game ads. The key lies in reporting sexist or harmful advertising – an action that many gaming publishers have already started taking.
We can expect greater regulation from authorities and ad networks shortly if mobile game publishers continue along in this trajectory.
And here is to the latest mobile game ads that made the spotlight on Twitter!
Mobile game ads have become an integral part of the gaming industry.
With so many creative options available, it can be hard to know which ads will work best for your game.
Getting inspiration by deconstructing existing ad creatives and finding trends is an essential process for every mobile game marketers.
To help you with this process, you can explore our creative and tags library today and start ideating on ads that will help you acquire more players at a lower cost!