Japanese airline All Nippon Airways (ANA) has jumped on the hype for the Nintendo Switch game Animal Crossing: New Horizons to get consumers excited about travelling to Japan soon. ANA will offer its Instagram followers "dream tickets" to Japan-themed islands within the game to give visitors a digital feel for the Japanese culture and history, including historic temples, the iconic cherry blossoms, and the Shōwa era.
Visitors will also be able to explore the islands and discover some ANA easter eggs and digital souvenirs, as each island will have a customized ANA lounge. According to ANA, it is the first commercial airline to offer trips within Animal Crossing: New Horizons and this was done in collaboration with Vice Media's creative agency Virtue. MARKETING-INTERACTIVE has reached out to ANA for additional information.
Keiji Omae, ANA’s vice president of marketing strategy, said that this year, it has learnt the importance of delivering that experience not only in the real world but in the digital world as well. "That is why we are offering dream tickets to bring virtual travellers to Japan-themed destinations in Animal Crossing," Omae added.
Meggy Kawsek, creative at Virtue, said it saw an opportunity to connect ANA with Animal Crossing as travel to Japan is highly limited right now. She added that with the release of the Dream Codes function, it was only natural to apply ANA’s global thru-line, Dreaming of Japan, as the basis for this campaign.
"Several brands have explored Animal Crossing as a messaging platform since its initial release in 2020. We are proud to partner with the first travel brand to enter the space and fully utilise the game’s world-building capabilities," Kawsek said.
The year 2021 has seen a slew of brands hopping aboard Animal Crossing: New Horizon in cross-platform collaborations. On the fashion front, UNIQLO and Gucci launched a collection and a virtual island in the game respectively. For UNIQLO, its new collection was based on the concept of "connecting with friends through clothing" to allow Animal Crossing players to enjoy real outfits within the game and was launched in April. Meanwhile, Gucci's virtual island sought to promote its #ForeverGuilty campaign film and scent. Featuring the brand's distinct aesthetic, Gucci's Animal Crossing island replicated scenes from its campaign film, and featured the scent of its fragrance.
Similarly, during the circuit breaker period in Singapore last year, Sentosa Development Corporation launched its own version of Sentosa Crossing, which was a digital reimagination of Sentosa island in the Nintendo Switch game. The launch marked the first Animal Crossing: New Horizons island getaway to be developed by a Singapore brand and was also used to help a couple host a virtual wedding celebration, since the couple had to postpone their actual wedding due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
At the same time, the pride festival was also hosted on Animal Crossing last year, ensuring that LGBTI+ people - a community which still faced many barriers to self-expression - could celebrate during times of self-isolation.
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