With a focus on beautiful design and fantastic content, we created an exciting family game for Christmas.
For the festive period, we at Distinction decided to create an entertaining Christmas game to spread a little cheer and distribute our brand message with some content marketing. We settled on the project we later named Flixmas, in which site visitors were presented with a living room decked out with festive decorations and a plethora of strange objects and recognisable faces from famous Christmas films. The aim of the game was to guess which films the hidden clues came from as fast as possible and get to the top of the leaderboard.
Flixmas was created as a fun game to spread some Christmas cheer and get people talking about Distinction, especially in the local area. This meant that it had to appeal to a wide range of people, have a competitive element so that users wanted to play against each other, and be easily shareable on social media.
We settled on the idea of presenting clues in the form of objects and characters from festive films, with players having to guess which film that clue belonged to. It sounds easy, but some of the films and clues were obscure to even the biggest of movie lovers! The film theme was chosen firstly because many of us here at Distinction are film buffs, but also because one of the most enjoyable parts of Christmas is watching a heartwarming film with family and friends. Furthermore, we included a range of festive films, from Die Hard to Charlie Brown's Christmas, meaning there would be something in there for everyone.
Finally, we wanted Flixmas to be seen by as many people as possible, which meant creating PR, social media and email campaigns. The nature of the project was extremely time bound, meaning that if we were to create the project, it would have to achieve maximum impact in minimal time, so excellent project planning was essential.
Design and Front-end
The biggest challenge for our design and front-end teams was capturing the spirit of Christmas. This required our design team to use Photoshop extensively to capture the right setting, include all of the characters and objects and the right wintery lighting. This was done by layering multiple stock images and manipulating various aspects, including changing one image from day to night. Ensuring this was done to our standards meant that a lot of the work was done 'by hand', which takes a lot of time.
However, this was just the stationary visual element. We also included animations and music to capture the festive feeling. Our front-end developers focused on making Flixmas an enjoyable, festive experience that tapped into traditional Christmas music, decorations, films and of course, the snow, which meant they took a lot of time over the details. This included adding and adjusting animations such as the feature of throwing a snowball at the object or character once the user had guessed a film correctly, using Pixi.js. The music and effects were also added to create the aural element of the Christmassy scene. These front-end developments, along with extensive testing, ensured that the outcome of the project was a professional, seamless experience that was fun to play.
Whilst developing the back-end of Flixmas, we exposed a selection of POST and GET functions to be consumed by the front-end. This meant that the front-end of the site could be technology agnostic. We did this to allow scope for future projects based off the same framework. To ensure that this could be achieved with as little limitation as possible with games of a similar type, the architecture of the back-end was designed to be as extensible as possible.
Marketing and PR
Social media was important for our campaign in order to reach those that already followed us across different channels. As users were competing against each other, personas were created in tiered brackets based on score, ranging from Scrooge, if that person scored 1-5, to Buddy the Elf for those that scored the highest. These personas were shareable on social media, which would entice others to play and share the game. We also shared one clue every day across social channels, which would both entice new players as well as give clues to those that had already played who thought they could guess more the next time.
Email also played an important part in announcing the launch of Flixmas. We presented our readership with the challenge in the subject line 'How good is your Christmas film knowledge?' with a direct link to play the game. This was to ensure that there was a high initial discovery but it also meant that the link was available whenever they wanted to find the game or share it with friends, family or colleagues.
It was important for us to reach a local audience. To ensure we fulfilled this agenda we created a PR campaign, leading to a number of local and national press to mention our game, including Nottingham's Creative Quarter and The Drum.
Flixmas was extremely popular bringing in a huge number of visits and great engagement levels, with over a third of users playing more than once in the same session, demonstrating that our aim of creating a challenging game with a competitive element was realised.
By producing this great content, we were able to disseminate our brand message. This was aided by our marketing strategy. The use of social media marketing and implementing social share buttons lead to over 40% of traffic coming from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn, demonstrating that users wanted to share their personas on social media and challenge friends. Email brought in a further 10% of users and recognition in both local and national press allowed us to proliferate our name even further.
These figures, alongside the fact that Flixmas was featured in different press publications, meant our project successfully generated engagement over the festive period and increased brand awareness.
What do Distinction say?
James BloorManaging Director
“Flixmas was a great project to work on for Christmas as it represents the unique individuals here at Distinction and our fun-loving company culture. It was also great to hear such good feedback from our friends, families and from members of the public that played the game.”