Cannes Lions

The Terror Of Undermountain

EDELMAN, San Francisco / ADOBE / 2019

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Overview

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Credits

Overview

Background

Adobe Photoshop is the most well-known digital imaging software in the world, and is part of the Adobe Creative Cloud, which is subscription based.

While we have no problem acquiring new customers, retention can be challenging. Photoshop is indisputably powerful, but it’s also not easy to master. New users can become frustrated or lured away by the growing number of simpler (and often free) photo editing apps.

In short, we have a leaky bucket.

Since the launch of the Creative Cloud 6 years ago, we’ve attracted over 10 million subscribers. But nearly 40% of self-identified beginners fail to renew their subscriptions within 24 months.

We needed to increase engagement and usage of Photoshop amongst newer customers, thereby increasing the likelihood of subscription renewal.

Idea

We partnered with Wizards Of The Coast, publisher of Dungeons & Dragons, and wrote the story of a mysterious new monster hiding in the Ruins Of Undermountain, one of the most popular D&D adventures of all time. And wove it into the official new storyline.

Then we challenged our social communities to bring the Terror Of Undermountain to life in Photoshop.

One monster would be chosen as the official Terror Of Undermountain, enshrined in the D&D Monster Manual, and manufactured as an official 3D miniature figurine.

Strategy

Through customer data we discovered that newer customers who use Photoshop to create original art are more likely to renew their subscriptions than those who just work with photography.

So we needed to get more of our users to increase their artistic engagement with Photoshop.

Our strategy was to partner with a popular entertainment brand and give our community an artistic challenge. Something that would inspire them to evolve their skills.

Through social listening and additional research we discovered that many Photoshop users play Dungeons & Dragons, a nearly 50 year-old fantasy role playing game currently experiencing a resurgence in popularity.

The entire essence of D&D is imagination, and the franchise is constantly creating new characters and creatures. So we called Wizards Of The Coast, publishers of D&D. They loved the idea of working together to tap into the collective creative power of our Photoshop community.

Game on.

Execution

We launched the campaign at TwitchCon, the annual convention for the live streaming platform, Twitch (hugely popular for live D&D gamers).

We created stop motion ads and social content using official D&D miniatures and a custom 3D printed dungeon. Ads and content featured the new D&D story, linked to creative assets, and offered a free trial of Photoshop if needed.

We also partnered with some of the most influential fantasy artists in the gaming community.

Brynn Metheney & Tom Babbey illustrated a custom monster making kit downloadable directly into Photoshop. Daniel Presedo and Satine Phoenix hosted live monster making tutorials on Twitch and Facebook Live.

We secured coverage in dozens of highly targeted art, gaming, and fantasy publications that are highly social, including io9, Geek & Sundry, and Gizmodo.

And throughout the three-week campaign, we supported our participants with thousands of social engagements providing technical advice and visual inspiration.

Outcome

Results of the campaign exceeded every KPI by anywhere from 20-600%.

• Over 300,000 social engagements

• 20,000 monster kit downloads

• 2,000 monsters created

The 20K monster kit downloads represent a subscription renewal value of $5-13 million annually (depending on Creative Cloud options). The social engagements exceed that significantly.

In addition, the campaign also resulted in 3,000 net new Photoshop trials, representing $750K- 1.8 million annually.

The user generated monsters became extensions of the campaign, as we showcased our participating artists and their creations throughout our social channels.

The campaign and the resulting artwork ended up being featured in over 40 articles spanning design, gaming, fantasy & scifi.

Two of our monsters will also be featured in this year’s Spectrum, the most exclusive annual collection of the best fantasy and scifi art in the world.

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