Ad Wars: Microsoft finds a loophole in Sony's exclusive Star Wars Battlefront marketing drive

Microsoft utilised stealth advertising to make up for Sony PlayStation 4 snapping up the exclusive marketing rights for highly anticipated video game Star Wars Battlefront.

Launched on Microsoft’s Xbox One and Sony’s PS4 in the UK 17 November, developer EA restricted pre-sale marketing of Star Wars Battlefront to the Japanese brand - which looked to capitalise upon the chart-topping game to propel console sales in the run-up to Christmas.

Microsoft, incapable of letting rival Sony reap the full benefit of its agreement with EA, strategically published subtle print ads and some vague social media posts looking to devalue PS4’s exclusivity period.

A Twitter user noticed the following subtle ad simply saying "Available now on Xbox One".

While vague, the full page ad appeared next to the Metro's Star Wars Battlefront ad, contextually implying that the Microsoft console will also feature the title - although the ad itself breaches no marketing agreements with EA as a singular entity.

A tweet from Xbox also hinted at properties in the Star Wars franchise in a marketing drive for its Elite and Lunar Xbox One controller launch.

Microsoft is accustomed to shooting risqué ads across Sony’s bow, last year marketing online shooter Destiny (which was also exclusivity granted to PS4) as a fragrance.

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John McCarthy

John is an entertainment marketing reporter at The Drum. He writes about the amazing marketing stories coming from the movie, TV, music and video game industries. He's also the hunt for the weirder trends in marketing and advertising.

Fuelled by tea.

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