Red Barrels’ scare tactics

The gaming company has created a dependable product to promote the release of horror game Outlast 2.

As Montreal independent gaming company Red Barrels prepared for the release of Outlast 2, the sequel to what’s regarded as one of the scariest video games ever made, it noticed a common thread in comments from its community.

Outlast had inspired YouTube videos of people freaking out as they watched the game being played, while the response of journalists and influencers to demos of the sequel were scatologically themed.

“We were pretty amused to see that the most frequent comment was about pooping themselves,” says David Allard, a copywriter at Sid Lee in Montreal, the agency behind the campaign.

Ahead of Outlast 2’s release in March, the brand is promoting a new accompanying product: Underscares. The diaper will help keep the experience clean for those brave enough to play.

The game already has a committed following of gaming influencers, Allard says, but the Underscares campaign is trying to use humour to extend the hype beyond the diehards. In addition to an online video introducing the product, the brand has created a Kickstarter page to raise $40,000 to actually create the diaper.

Using a crowdfunding campaign will contribute to more earned media, Allard says, but the indie company could also use the money to actually create the product, as it intends to do, rather than blowing its budget on one stunt. If it reaches the goal (it was nearing $14,000 at press time), the brand will use the diaper as a promotional tool around the game’s release for influencers and fans to take and share photos.

If the diaper idea doesn’t catch on, Allard says the agency has other promotional ideas that are more straightforward, hyping the game’s horror elements more than its humour.

“That’s what’s awesome about this kind of campaign and client: the fans on Facebook and on the internet have all the insight you need,” he says. “You’re just listening to them and giving them what they want.”