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By John McCarthy, Opinion Editor

March 17, 2016 | 3 min read

Assassination video game Hitman has added a unique layer of interactivity to its video ads by implementing a ‘Kill This Ad’ option opening up branching narratives.

Emulating the game’s hit missions, viewers are shown the Wolfshark, a man dubbed the King of Corruption, who the Hitman can dispose of in three ways.

With the ‘Kill This Ad’ offering, users have a degree of control over the shady live-action hit in place of the usual YouTube prompt ‘Skip This Ad’.

Being marketed with the #HitHappens hashtag, the campaign authentically recreates the game – arguably better than Hollywood’s two cinematic efforts with the IP. Furthermore, Omelet’s efforts blur the line between video ads and gaming with its focus on offering choice to viewers.

Omelet creative director, who directed the creative, Josh Smutko, told The Drum: “We wanted to bring the experience of being the Hitman to life, of being able to strike anywhere at any time. We quickly identified skipping an ad as a great mechanic to showcase this, so live-action made perfect sense.”

Tasked with bringing the misadventures of the bald, genetically engineered, assassin clone known as Agent 47 to “life in a way that would look great in the ad and be completely true to the game,” Smutko said the team really wanted to “do something that brought the experience of playing Hitman to other mediums in a surprising and fun way”.

He admitted that studios and publishers are looking for new ways to promote their games: “Intricate videos, like live-action TV spots or gorgeous game trailers, have been around a while and will not be going anywhere.

“But audiences are fragmented onto tons of different social channels, devices, and mediums now, so there’s this awesome opportunity to come up with new ways to give people a meaningful, interactive experience.”

The ads will be targeted programmatically ensuring they are reaching gamers – so if you’re a gamer, chances are you’ll be experiencing #HitHappens sooner rather than later.

The Hitman franchise has often been uniquely marketed in the games industry. Just last week, a Hitman experiential toilet-based ad campaign caused a stir with gory toilet stall ads.


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