This year the fabled Sims game franchise made headlines by expanding virtual living to game consoles for the first time in its nearly twenty year history. Game maker EA and Wieden + Kennedy chose Emerge to help spread the word through a massive global media buy that enticed Sims lovers to “Simify” themselves and see their virtual antics splashed across the front page of the Tabloids. Not only did we face significant technical and scalability challenges with a project of this scale, we also had less than 6 weeks to pull it off. No Sweat, right.

We first determine how best to convert an uploaded image and render it out into an image of a tabloid newspaper as a truly Sims-like character. The result is a  “Simmification” engine that takes user images from a webcam or upload and converts them into “Simmified” tabloid headlines on the fly across all platforms. From there we extended the campaign to include standard and rich banner units, a microsite, as well as a “Make Headlines” tab on the Sims Facebook page. Then we internationalized everything for global reach. Piece of cake!

Given the challenges of supporting the massive fluctuations in traffic inherent in such a large ad push as well as the heavy load of processing the images in real-time we chose to host the campaign in the Amazon AS3 cloud solution, a first for both Emerge and W+K. So far the results speak for themselves.


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