Challenge: Bring awareness to the lack of inclusivity in the gaming problem.
Motivation: Gaming communities, specifically co-op games, tend to have very toxic communities. Women, the LGBTQIA community, and BIPOC individuals are often discriminated against by other gamers based solely on the sound of their voice- if they are perceived as feminine or as non-white, they are subsequently harassed. This needs to change immediately, because not addressing this problem leads to the normalizing of misogynistic, homophobic, transphobic, and racist ideologies.
Solution: Bring attention to this problem in a disruptive way; a way that users can’t ignore. The #MICDROP campaign centers around the muting of all gaming microphones, thus ceasing all in-game communications between players. Communicating in co-op games is an integral part of the experience. This is done to stand in solidarity with all gamers that mute their mics when playing games because they would otherwise face harassment and discrimination based on the sound of their voice. We want everyone to know what it feels like to miss out on this important aspect of gaming.
September 12 was chosen as the date, as that is dubbed "National Video Games Day."
The goal was to hit every social media platform with information about the #MICDROP initiative. On some platforms, we encourage them to learn more by visiting the Riot Games website. On other platforms where there is more room for information, we explain the initiative in greater detail. Either way, we make sure that attention is brought.
In using the Riot Games iconic red color and branding, we make it clear that this is not one game’s problem- this is a gaming-community-wide issue that needs to be dealt with. However, graphics can be adapted to reflect the branding of Riot Games’ other games, such as League of Legends (below)
These are attention-grabbing social media graphics, intended for the larger message to be placed as a caption. The shorter headlines make them easier to read and easier to catch someone’s eye.
These are motion graphics intended for use as paid Instagram story ads. The short copy is attention-grabbing and draws users in, intriguing them about what the ad is going to say and what the #MICDROP initiative is.
These graphics were made using Adobe After Effects.
Separate from the #MICDROP initiative, we realized it was important for Riot Games to bring attention to the lack of diversity in video game development as well. A simple awareness campaign was developed for Riot Games to encourage marginalized individuals to consider going into gaming development, by showing them the innovators and pioneers of gaming were also marginalized people. Its goal is to show that Riot cares about inclusivity and making a difference in gaming's culture.
Below is an example of a Riot Games branded poster that would bring attention to panels that discuss making communities safer. This poster would be placed at conventions, such as TwitchCon or ComicCon. It is very important that conversations about toxic gaming culture (and how to solve this problem) happen in the real world.
Roles: Jorden Smith, copywriting and strategy. Laura Panzo, creative direction.
This project was developed by Jorden Smith and Laura Panzo (self) as part of our internship program at VSA Partners. Guidance and mentorship came from Avery Gross, Phillip del Moral, and Kim Mickenberg. This project was presented to Riot Games in September 2022.