It’s been four years since the last release of a Twisted Metal game, so when the task of promoting the latest installment fell to the team at Deutsch L.A., they knew they had to come out swinging…or shooting, rather.
"Shoot My Truck" is a delightfully disturbing two-day live event where a lucky few will get the chance to fire a M249-SAW machine gun remotely from their computers with a random assortment of targets, including Sweet Tooth’s ice cream truck.
Starting today, February 14, in a remote desert about 30 miles from Las Vegas, approximately 1,500 people who sign up for "Shoot My Truck" will unleash a flurry of 70 rounds each at objects like mannequins, campy Valentine’s Day paraphernalia, slabs of meat, exploding refrigerators, and more rotating every hour. "The challenge of something like this comes down to logistics because you’re shooting and blowing shit up through the web," says Winston Binch, Chief Digital Officer at Deutsch L.A.
But it was a challenge well worth taking on given the fact that Twisted Metal-heads had to endure an agonizing release date delay last fall. Binch mentions it was the desire to do something newsworthy, truly innovative, and downright viscerally violent that was the impetus for giving fans a taste of Twisted Metal in the real world. "One thing we talk a lot about doing is trying to prove and promote what our actual products and experiences are, and the idea [for "Shoot My Truck"] came somewhat naturally," he says. "This definitely is not your typical game launch or promotion, but it feels so right for the genre, the game, and the audience."
Creating what’s essentially a weaponized app became a collaborative endeavor between Deutsch L.A. and Stink Digital, not to mention a legal minefield for lawyers at Sony. "There’s a host of things that can go wrong with an event like this, so we’ve been going through worst-case-scenario planning, thinking through everything and every last detail," says Binch. "It’s a new precedent so you’re kind of inventing policies in many ways."
Binch is banking on the appeal of such a chaotic live event to not only pull in spectators, but to foster brand love for Sony and give Twisted Metal fans an experience akin to the mayhem they love so well. "You have to be working at the speed of the Internet as a brand—that’s the thing that gets people most excited," he says. "And of course as a marketer you have your checklist of doing TV, banner, print, or radio [ads] and maybe even a microsite or mobile app, but I think what we have to get comfortable doing in our industry is really pushing ideas and experimenting more."