Cannes Lions

Welcome to Suplex City

BARRETTSF, San Francisco / 2K SPORTS / 2017

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WWE 2K17 is a wrestling video game.

This past year, 2K selected wrestling and UFC superstar Brock Lesnar as the game’s cover athlete. In addition to being on the game box cover, Brock would also be the focus of our integrated creative campaign. There was only problem with this approach—Brock doesn’t really talk much.

He does say one thing, however. His catchphrase, which happens to be “Suplex City, Bitch!” So we took that line and imagined what it would be like to live in this environment. We turned Suplex City into a living, breathing place and buried within it a world of content that fans could discover.

The idea was to create a deep, immersive, authentic world, then layer Easter eggs throughout the creative and across all marketing mediums. We did, and fans ate it up.


The WWE landscape is vast. Add in gaming and entertainment fans, and it’s a massive audience. To maximize reach and effectiveness, we needed to create a fully integrated campaign that would live seamlessly cross-mediums for a whole year.

The main “beats” of the campaign involved spots that announced the downloadable character (a legendary wrestler named Goldberg), revealed the cover star (Brock Lesnar), and launched the game. These spots ran on broadcast and pre-roll across gaming and entertainment properties. To complement these spots, we invited fans to dig deeper into the world of Suplex City by providing them with an interactive map to discover Suplex City “residents” (i.e. playable characters), an Instagram contest offering them a chance to “vacation” in Suplex City, and even digital-only Suplex City “local business” commercials. An interactive hotline, PR promotions, and partnerships with IGN and further deepened the experience.


Our Suplex City campaign reached millions of WWE and gaming fans. We also saw unprecedented engagement, as the Who’s Next OMG trailer (13.7 MM) and Goldberg reveal video (10MM) are the two most-viewed videos in franchise history.

We also saw astronomical social media growth in 2016. Facebook traffic was up 23% YOY, Twitter was up 18% YOY, YouTube was up 16% YOY, and Instagram was up 2,146%.

WWE 2K17’s year-over-year units sold was +7.4%, which is impressive compared to other annualized franchises like NBA 2K17 (-2.2%), Madden 17 (-9.1%), FIFA 17 (-9.9%), NHL 17 (-11.3%) and Call of Duty: Infinite (-47.9%).

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EP+CO, Greenville

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