Cannes Lions

Knights of the Frozen Throne Global Campaign


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The Lich King, Lord of the Scourge and penultimate Warcraft villain, was slated to be the centerpiece of our upcoming Hearthstone expansion, Knights of the Frozen Throne. However, he was defeated in battle by World of Warcraft players back in 2012, so we asked ourselves: “What’s he been doing since then?” It turns out, he’s been playing Hearthstone—lots of it—and had now set his sights on getting a job at Blizzard Entertainment in an effort to regain his former glory, by any means necessary. This iconic character would have to deal with the trials and tribulations of the “real world” and today’s job market, bringing him into new relevance for long-time fans, and also making the him accessible to those who weren’t aware of his storied history.


In July 2017, we first teased the Lich King’s return in a thematic announcement for the expansion, sending our community into a frenzy. We capitalized on this hype by releasing a series of assets including tweets, blogs, and social posts. Our campaign then went into full gear with a video series that was localized in 14 languages and garnered over 12 million views in more than 130 countries. In addition, we hit the road on a live activation tour spanning 5 countries, where professional cosplayers distributed over 20,000 units of ice cream to 40,000 attendees. The campaign was so successful that we brought the Lich King back into the studio after Knights of the Frozen Throne launched to produce additional social engagement content, extending the campaign and earning 200 million impressions.


The success of this campaign led to Hearthstone’s most successful expansion launch in the game’s history. Knights of the Frozen Throne out performed our other expansions in sales, return of lapsed players, and new player acquisitions. We also saw user behaviors change , resulting in an increase in daily active users and a global market share of voice of 61%. Additionally, the campaign had unintended benefits for other aspects of our business such as merchandise sales—the limited edition Ice Cream Citadel T-shirts we created became one of the fastest selling merchandise items in franchise history. The success of the campaign also led us to create additional assets and extend its length past the launch of the expansion.

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