Celebrity endorsement in online game marketing for DTWS 2

Online gaming in China has over 300 million PC gamers. On top of that are a steadily growing number of mobile and tablet gamers. Chinese online game revenue was around $8billion last year, accounting for just under half of all game revenue in the country. Clearly the market is large and lucrative, but this also makes it competitive. Looking at successful examples of online game marketing in China helps you understand what works to make a successful game marketing campaign. We took a look at how Chinese PR firm Genedigi MSLGroup transformed the fortunes of NetEase’s Du Tang Wu Shuang (DTWS) series.


By 2012, 2.5d combat game Du Tang Wu Shuang was losing fans and brand awareness at a remarkable rate. With the sequel due for release, developers NetEase needed a way to reverse the fortunes of the franchise, whose brand awareness was dropping faster than any of its top five Chinese online gaming competitors. In the highly competitive marketplace, they needed a way to reconnect with fans, ensuring lots of people registered to play DTWS2.

NetEase signs popular Taiwanese model and actress Lin Chi-Ling

Lin Chi-Ling, a popular model and actress, known for her roles in Red Cliff/Red Cliff II, The Treasure Hunter, and Switch, was signed by NetEase to become a brand ambassador for the Du Tang Wu Shuang franchise. This was not the first celebrity signing used to promote the franchise – the original DTWS was endorsed by Donnie Yen, a prolific martial arts film star known in the West for his roles in Blade II and Hero (source: chinagame.178.com).

The signing was part of Genedigi MSLGroup’s plan to employ a strong word-of-mouth campaign for the game’s launch. Lin was involved directly in the game as a player, interacting with other gamers to bridge the gap between fantasy and reality. The chance to interact with a popular and beautiful film star was sure to entice many of the predominantly male gamers back to the DTWS franchise.

Campaign result

The move certainly worked. After the launch of Du Tang Wu Shuang 2, NetEase’s Chinese online gaming revenue rose by 21%, with the game being ranked second in the top five 2.5d games of 2013 Q3. Both the term DTWS 2 and the game’s theme song trended on Weibo and views of the game’s online videos surpassed 7.17million, with 980 links on YouKu. 1.2million online comments were made about the game. During the 40 day campaign period, Baidu searches for the game increased by 1000% and media coverage by 300%. In total, the campaign generated over 500million impressions.

Finding celebrity endorsement for online game marketing

Celebrity endorsements are not a new or rare marketing technique when launching any kind of product. While giant stars may be well outside of your budget, the DTWS 2 campaign shows that word-of-mouth can have huge rewards for companies. With the popularity of social media, it is easier than ever to connect with people who influence many others, making it possible to build strong partnerships with key online celebrities.

(Image source: “Football Player Striking The Ball On Tablet” | www.freedigitalphotos.net)