PONOS and R/GA have partnered to launch a disruptive campaign for the legendary mobile game ‘The Battle Cats’ that defies Lunar New Year norms. Their mission? To challenge gamers to sign a petition aiming to replace the mythical Year of the Dragon and usher in the avant-garde Year of the Cat.
In 2024, while dragons hold mythical prominence on the zodiac calendar, the Year of the Dragon commands attention. In a playful departure, the campaign challenges this incongruity by bringing attention to the absence of cats – a beloved species among humans and internet enthusiasts. Turning heads with a playfully eccentric approach, the campaign addresses the issue of “Nyan discrimination.”
Professional gamers in Korea and Taiwan born in the Year of the Dragon, are urged to sign the petition if they fail to conquer specific stages in ‘The Battle Cats,’ highlighting the game’s intricate elements. An online video featuring edited footage of professional gamers navigating the demanding stages will be released to underscore the game’s strategic complexity and broaden its appeal beyond traditional gaming enthusiasts.
Shingo Ohno, Creative Director at R/GA Singapore, said: “PONOS and R/GA are reshaping the gaming experience by embracing the beautifully bizarre and captivating Taiwanese and Korean gamers in a culturally resonant way. The ‘Beautiful Legs Cat’ is used to gather votes, the more votes received, the more cat food players earn in the game. Drawing inspiration from the iconic scene in Basic Instinct allowed us to craft a uniquely quirky petition, shedding light on the unjust treatment of cats.”
Seiichiro Sano, Managing Director at PONOS, said: “R/GA is a true extension of the PONOS team working together on our innovation journey. They’re adding new challenges and new depth to The Battle Cats in a series of unexpected campaigns that are intriguing and delighting our fan base. R/GA is an exceptional partner, more than just a contractor, who ‘goes far beyond’ in unexpected ways.”
Anthony Baker, General Manager at R/GA Japan, said: “Embracing creative innovation, PONOS aligns with our own culture at R/GA. As a client, they consistently exceed expectations with their quirky and unexpected approach to narratives that express the world of Battle Cats and breathe new life into their games.”
Early results reveal more gamers are heading to the platform each day, with an increase in new and returning users compared to last Lunar New Year. Gamers are also showing their support by signing the petition on the websites.
As the second campaign in a new long-term creative innovation partnership between R/GA Japan and PONOS, the campaign is running in Korea and Taiwan. Co-created by PONOS’ game developers, it showcases the impact of R/GA’s Distributed Creativity model leveraging teams from across its global network in Japan, Singapore, Taiwan, and Korea.
Going beyond the challenge to Lunar New Year traditions, 2024 marks a significant milestone for ‘The Battle Cats’ as it celebrates its 10th anniversary in Korea and 9th in Taiwan. The partnership between PONOS and R/GA, initially forged during the successful 2023 Black Friday campaign targeting the North American market, has evolved into a strategic alliance for the Korean and Taiwanese markets, with support from R/GA Japan and Singapore.
See Battle Cats in action: