Monochrome Visuals and Marketing
Monochrome is not a real game - let me get that out of the way now. It's a concept that I began to develop when I started my game design minor at Quinnipiac. Over the years, it's changed and evolved, and has never truly died out. Recently, I decided to try to bring it to life by creating the key visuals and box art for the game, as well as a small marketing campaign that would be used to promote it.
In Monochrome, you are a news photographer in a desaturated world; no one there has ever known color. As you're out taking pictures however, you come across an unexpected vibrance, a colorful bird unlike any you've ever seen. You take a photograph of it, and that begins the story of your struggle to restore color to the world.
The Key Visual
Monochrome is a very visual, conceptual game. The visuals attached to it are extremely important.
I decided to go with real photography for the key artwork. Most games nowadays will use in-game imagery, digital artwork, or 3d graphics, but it felt like a real disservice to not use photography for the cover art of a game about photography. My initial thought was to show either a shot of the protagonist taking a picture, or a through-the-lens shot of the bird. Those both kinda fell flat in getting across the point of the game, though. The image of the girl just showed that she was a photographer, and the image of the bird honestly made it look like a stale birdwatching simulator.
After some redesign, this image stood out as the best . It captures the key game elements: the camera, the palette icon, the protagonist, and the colorful bird against the black and white world. This is supposed to represent the point where the game's story picks up: the protagonist seeing color for the first time. It also creates a guideline for all associated visuals for the game's marketing: dull all but a selected highlight color.
The Marketing Campaign
The goal of the marketing for Monochrome is to be as immersive as possible. The game is about a world devoid of color, and I want to bring that into the real world in an interesting, disruptive way.
Rather than focus on a typical ad campaign, I decided that I wanted to develop a guerilla-style marketing strategy. There are no billboards featuring the key imagery, no videos pushing the game play. Instead, I want to focus on subtle takeovers: monochromatic versions of normally colorful billboard ads. Relevant magazine and paper ads that are strangely devoid of color. The idea here is to create a kind of mystique to the concept. People would have the name "Monochrome," as well as the knowledge that it was a game, but otherwise not know the details of the game.
In addition to those, the campaign leverages "wild postings" of branded posters and key art to advertise the social aspects of marketing campaign. The keystone marketing event would feature an entire area turned grayscale, save for little bright pops of color accents throughout, and whatever color visitors happen to bring in with them.
The Social Marketing Campaign
The immersion of the marketing campaign continues to social media. Small pop-up events at well-known city parks help to drive awareness for Monochrome. While these create a physical, branded place to advertise the game, they also serve as the focal point for social marketing.
Each event would have a Snapchat filter attached to it, giving users a look at the game's desaturated world by dulling all but some select vibrant colors. Visitors are encouraged to share their pictures with a hashtag, and those who do are entered to win copies of the game, game consoles, merchandise, and even their own camera.
On Facebook, users can convert their profile pictures into Monochome images and share them with friends. Working with other brands (Nintendo, Nikon, and game news outlets), we perform ""takeovers" of brand Facebook pages, turning them Monochromatic for a day. These simple but disruptive marketing campaigns help to raise awareness and interest in the game and advertise the core concept.