'Escape Room meets Bandersnatch': Twitch builds live game for Porsche's entry into Formula E

Amazon’s community video site Twitch is getting more experimental in the experiences it creates for advertisers. The latest activation is a four-hour live role-playing game controlled by the viewers designed to is mark Porsche's entry into Formula E.

Adam Harris, director of custom solutions at Twitch, said it wants to create “unpredictable, never-to-be-repeated experiences” for brands.

The German auto brand was looking to find a new audience on a new platform to talk about the line of electric vehicles, its Formula E partnership and a forthcoming push to promote its 'green' credentials.

It identified Twitch as the best place to generate buzz among a desirable audience and approached the company with a campaign idea. From first chat to execution, there were around six months of work. The experience went live on Twitch at 6pm CET on Thursday.

It's been described as a "live RPG, an escape room meets Bandersnatch... a real-life game where viewers control a real-life human being".

In the experience, called ‘Formula E Unlocked’, players enter a livestream game set in the Porsche factory. Players then vote on the decisions and actions of two drivers as they attempt to reach the Formula E car reveal.

"We had to figure out what a car reveal would look like. Twitch is live, interactive and about community - we don't just want to do it like anyone else. So, we put the car release in the hands of the viewing audience by gamifying it," Harris explained.

"It was a hugely complex web of decision trees. We got a community of gamers to help us create nods to gaming they would recognize and built puzzles that are familiar to the audience and work within a live interactive game."

It was custom-built with Harris and his team drawing on experiences from previous activations, chiefly around Mission Impossible and the Tomb Raider movie.

Harris cited numerous gaming influences in the experience, from Metal Gear Solid’s hiding in boxes to the disguises of the Hitman franchise – but all recreated live in Porsche premises.

With all the resources going into these efforts, there needed to be a significant degree of marketing for it to pay off. Six hours before the event had started, the landing page received 23,000 views, indicating success in attracting a mass audience.

The promotion video at the top of the article, created by Porsche ran across Twitch and external platforms to publicise the event.

Twitch and Porsche social assets also pushed it. Twitch's homepage hosted the page but and it harnessed its community influencer tool 'Bounty Board', a self-serve program that let streamers of certain criteria run sponsored videos in exchange for payment.

Oliver Hoffmann, director of marketing comms at Porsche, said: “Twitch seemed a perfect choice... it offered us one-of-a-kind opportunities to reach out to younger target groups in an environment that is highly relevant for us. Together we have created a unique experience in both the automotive industry, and the world of gaming.”

Over two million people interacted with the game overall.

In June, social video company Twitch acquired Bebo's latest incarnation, an e-sports streaming software, indicating its commitment to strengthen its streaming and community offerings in the face of competition from the likes of YouTube Gaming and Microsoft's Mixer.

Twitch, despite efforts to expand from the label into TV and other niche, predominantly hosts gamer streams. Marketers are being increasingly convinced on the value of gaming channels and audiences.

Join us, it's free.

Become a member to get access to:

  • Exclusive Content
  • Daily and specialised newsletters
  • Research and analysis

Join us, it’s free.

Want to read this article and others just like it? All you need to do is become a member of The Drum. Basic membership is quick, free and you will be able to receive daily news updates.