#HireHonor: Activision Blizzard and Call Of Duty Endowment
Activision Blizzard, Inc., is a global interactive entertainment company. Though the gaming space is extremely competitive and more so every year, Activision has remained a leader for over 40 years. The company’s portfolio includes franchises across its business units (Activision Publishing, Blizzard Entertainment, King Digital Entertainment, Call of Duty World League, and Overwatch League, and its independent studios, including Infinity Ward, Sledgehammer Games, and Treyarch).
Activision Blizzard has shown strong and focused dedication to supporting veteran employment since the Call of Duty Endowment was founded in 2009 by CEO Bobby Kotick. They have funded more than $30 million worth of Endowment grants that have placed 65,000 veterans into high-quality jobs while providing operational support and making an organizational commitment to hire more veterans within the company.
Celebrating 10 years of successful partnership, Activision and the Call of Duty Endowment started 2019 with a unified goal: raise $4.5 million in 2019, to help place 10,000 veterans into high-quality jobs in 2020. Eager to exceed previous years’ success, Activision wanted to create a one-of-a-kind integrated campaign to commemorate the Endowment’s 10th anniversary year.
In collaboration with the Endowment, Activision leveraged its world-class marketing and creative departments to create #HireHonor, a 360-degree campaign that coincided with the launch of 2019’s biggest console game, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. #HireHonor incorporated a wide variety of unique events and activations, offering fans exclusive digital merchandise and engaging a colorful cast of celebrities and gaming professionals, with 100% of Activision proceeds going directly to finding jobs for veterans.
The foundation of #HireHonor’s fundraising was the in-game digital items in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, and Call of Duty Mobile. And for the first time, Activision opened up another storied franchise to the cause with the Crash Team Racing franchise. The strategy was to create unique items that players could find nowhere else and to promote them heavily through social media, traditional media relations, influencer marketing, and within the game environment itself.
#HireHonor’s biggest success came with the Defender Pack. This 12-item pack was the largest and most valuable charity pack Call of Duty has launched to date and included the first-ever in-game wristwatch. The Defender Pack was the first and only digital item available at launch, and, crucially, coordinated with Activision and Sony to make it available internationally. In total, the Defender Pack raised $5.3 million with 100% of proceeds going to the Endowment.
The Veterans Day weekend marked the launch of another pack for the Call of Duty Mobile game, the Honor Pack. That same month, the team launched the Firehawk in Crash Team Racing, the first digital item in an Activision title other than Call of Duty. This item expands the Endowment’s reach beyond the Call of Duty franchise and introduces an entirely new audience to the cause.
Finally, they debuted the Jump Pack in Call of Duty: Black Ops 4. In total, $5.78M was raised through these digital items. Additionally, this approach continues to elevate the Activision brand by demonstrating its decade-long commitment to an important cause.
The CODE Bowl
#HireHonor’s flagship event was the CODE Bowl, a tournament-style competition featuring the world’s most popular Call of Duty streamers (with a collective audience of 97.8 million) going head-to-head in an exhibition match, with all proceeds going to the Endowment. The event was live-streamed across each of the major streaming platforms (Twitch, Mixer, YouTube, and Facebook) on December 13, 2019. During breaks, #HireHonor and other Call of Duty Endowment PSAs aired on the broadcast, reinforcing the cause and the central purpose behind the event. The four-hour event raised more than $500,000 and had more than 1.3 million unique viewers and 156 million impressions.
#HireHonor was anchored by a high-quality PSA that honors the challenges that real-life members of the military face during and after their service. Secretary of Defense James Mattis served as the spokesperson and hammered home the theme of #HireHonor, tying it directly to the mission of the Endowment. A central pillar in Activision’s business plan is increasing the success and awareness of the Endowment, and the video was highly effective in achieving this, with more than 1.27 million views and 144 million digital impressions.
Partners Costco and GameStop also raised funds for the Endowment and offered exclusive game-specific items.
Through the distribution of targeted content, the creation of exclusive digital items, and a world-class gaming exhibition with the most popular streamers on the planet, by year’s end, #HireHonor shattered its goal, raising $8.1M that will ultimately place more than 16,000 veterans into new civilian careers.