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Passing on our Act for Food values in video games
July 22, 2021

At Carrefour Taiwan, we want to be the closest possible to our customers – ALL of them – and be present on a variety of points of contact. As you can imagine, we have a wide variety of customers, including the so-called “Millenials” (21-39 years old), for whom traditional marketing is outdated and prefer using social media. This young generation loves to play video games whether it is on mobile or on a different platform – and they also love to watch other people play. Consequently, we thought of reaching out to our younger customers through video games, especially since the gaming industry is quite big in Taiwan and in Asia in general. 

Sales of video games and game consoles have been skyrocketing. The global games market will generate $175.8 billion in 2021. While gaming’s growth trajectory remains overwhelmingly positive for the past dozens of years, 2020 was a special year. Covid-19 profoundly changed the gaming industry with habits and behaviors that changed. 

Reaching out to our younger customers is one thing, but doing while promoting our values is another! At Carrefour Taiwan, we combined one of the Millennials’ preferred communications channels with one of our global yearly objectives which is to familiarize and educate our customers on our Act for Food initiatives. Thus, we decided to partner up with Nintendo and launched Carrefour’s exclusive island within the video game Animal Crossing: New Horizons on Switch. 

The video game industry: an industry to invest in

In an article on techcrunch, a comparison between the different global markets for media and entertainment formats was made: Pay TV is leading the way with a $226 billion in 2019. Game market is the third market with $178.5 billion, ahead of film, musin and podcasting markets (respectively with $101 billion, $62 billion and $863 million). As you can see the video game industry is performing well and is becoming one of the top media & entertainment formats, exceeding both the film, and music industries. A breakdown per region of the world shows that Asia-Pacific accounts for around 50% of game revenues in 2021 – that is why Carrefour Taiwan saw an opportunity there. 

Today, there are around 3 billion players worldwide, including 1.6 billion (55%) in Asia-Pacific, a +5.3% yoy increase from 2020. This shows that: 

  • The 2020’s gaming boom led to a increase in players, 
  • It also leaves room for further growth thanks to several factors including better internet coverage & infrastructure and an increase in the online population.

The video game market is promising and will grow with a CAGR (compound annual growth rate from 2019 to 2024) of +8.7% to reach $218.7 billion in 2024, thus achieving the $200-billion target in 2023. 

Animal crossing: New Horizons, the perfect video game to partner up with

Animal Crossing: New Horizons by Nintendo was launched in March 2020 and was a huge success in Taiwan and in the world. Over 32 million copies were sold globally (as of March 2021) and the game became the best selling Switch game of all times!  

What is Animal Crossing you might ask?  The video game is a “life sim” (life simulation) genre of video game meaning it does not have an end, no “failed mission”, quests or goals. The primary functions are about making money to decorate one’s home, creating towns with inhabitants and bonding with those characters. 

Carrefour Taiwan saw a first opportunity in May 2020 as we sold the Nintendo Switch Animal Crossing: New Horizons Edition bundle set on our e-commerce website. We had amazing results: over 110,000 people were connected online and everything was sold out in 20 minutes! We were able to draw two main learning: 

  • Our customers, whether they were Millennials or parents that bought the bundle set for their children, were keen on video games, 
  • There is a strong overlap between our customers and Animal Crossing: New Horizons’ players. 

Witnessing this success made us think about other opportunities to seize. Hence, we took the decision to launch Carrefour’s exclusive island within “Animal Crossing” and we transcribed the real store scenes to the game world, creating authentic “virtual stores”!

How we did it

Carrefour Island is a place where users come to do their shopping in a supermarket with the brand’s colors. We built up 8 key areas within the store in Animal Crossing: fresh products, bakery, exotic products, snacks & pantry, promotion, electronic goods, textile and Carrefour impact. We also planned a series of public facilities such as parking lots, customer rest areas etc.  

At Carrefour Taiwan, we used game features to make the Carrefour logo, the Carrefour uniform for the game’s characters and our slogan. We even created our own virtual character that interacts with game users. 

▲Providing Carrefour employee uniform design for netizens (= digital citizens) to download

The aim is not to sell products. Our partnership with Nintendo was about promoting our food transition program, Act For Food. Thanks to our presence in the video game, users can access information on Carrefour’s supply chains, the traceability of products from farm to fork and on imported wines.

▲ We explain how the fruits and vegetables grow. See translation of the Facebook post below: 

Do you eat mixed brand nuts on No Man’s Land?
Janet: Not Banzai, I don’t eat them!
Don’t be afraid! #Raffles will not be on the island. We have moved all the fresh food to the island as part of our “Eat Better” food movement.
🍅 Fresh vegetables delivered directly from the source
Through the cooperation of the vegetable island chain, fresh vegetables are picked daily and delivered directly to the island.
🍉 Fruits grown by friendly local farmers
Combined with the expertise of islanders, we insist on no chemical fertilizers and extend the harvesting period by two times, so that environmental sustainability is the responsibility of islanders.
🐟 Live-caught fishery products
Only then does Shangqing dare to speak up! Strict control from production to packaging

Using social media to spread visibility

We heavily relied on social media posts to inform gamers about our latest news and what they could find and do on our island. We used our Facebook page to post about the Carrefour island we just set up! 

We also posted a “Fresh Produce Market” post two weeks later which integrated gaming and events to promote the “Carrefour Quality Line”.

By inviting video game Youtubers such as 小貓奈奈(nekonana1223) that live-streamed both on Youtube and Twitch, it gave extra visibility to our digital campaigns! We edited the in-island exploring video into a 10-minute highlight which was posted on Carrefour Twitter fan page and on 小貓奈奈(nekonana1223)‘s Youtube Channel. 

In order to enrich the video’s content, our Digital Marketing team set up a challenge on our island. Youtubers had to find the hidden promo code, in a limited time. If the YouTubers managed to accomplish the challenge, they would win benefits and discounts for their fans. This greatly increased both the user experience and content viewability.

As aforementioned, one of the 8 key areas we built was the “Carrefour impact” area. We designed a wooden pallet and created a non-caged egg zone to promote our Act for Change initiatives including environment protection and animal-friendly causes. 

As soon as the Facebook post about Carrefour impact was published, it received feedback from many netizens that asked to visit our island! We were proud of what we accomplished and even started a new trend since other Taiwanese brands concerned about health and environment followed our footsteps and started to build their own store!

In order to satisfy fans’ desire, Carrefour Taiwan officially invited fans to the island and hosted a live streaming through a fan page allowing those who don’t play games to view the island’s scenery easily!

Last July, Animal Crossing: New Horizons released a new feature called “Dream Addresses”. This allowed us to publish a code that enabled gamers to find our store easily and visit us, without any restriction related to the player’s geography and time. 

▲Allowing players to visit Carrefour island through Dream Addresses code. Photo Album

Since then, Carrefour Taiwan has been continuing its partnership with Nintendo through the video game Animal Crossing: New Horizons. This still creates a large volume of discussion on social media and thus visibility for us!

The Carrefour island will stay in Animal Crossing for the upcoming years and we will keep all the aforementioned features without adding any. Hopefully, we will be able to make new partnerships in the future with other games! 

The video game experience in France with Fortnite

Carrefour Taiwan’s experience with the video game industry inspired other countries of the Carrefour Group! Hence, a couple of weeks ago, Carrefour France partnered up with Fortnite for a unique experience! 

First, let me tell you about Fortnite Battle Royale. Fortnite is a popular online game where up to 100 players are confronted simultaneously on an island whose vital space is reduced. The objective is to be the last survivor! 

Carrefour created its own island by putting a supermarket at the center. But that’s not just it! The players who found themselves on the map were plunged into a Carrefour virtual world. In that universe, they found an ultra-modern hypermarket but also a field, a fishing area, a charging station for electric cars or even trucks that run on biofuel. Carrefour France launched its island and asked the famous video game YouTuber Teeqzy to play live and show players what Carrefour’s “Healthy Map” looks like. 

Carrefour’s aim was to gain visibility amongst gamers and raise awareness around eating healthy. Available for a couple of weeks now, the “Healthy Map” has a rather special gameplay principle. To increase their chances of survival, players will only have to eat fresh fruits, vegetables or fish to regenerate or boost their abilities. 

As you might have understood… Carrefour just launched with Fortnite the first map where survival depends on “eating well”!  To access the Healthy Map, players need a code once they have selected the “creative mode” of the game.  The Healthy Map is available on all platforms: PlayStation, Microsoft Xbox Series X, Nintendo PC and even mobile. 

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About the Author

Digital Marketing at Carrefour Taiwan Jiuan works in the Digital Marketing team and she works on retrieving and delivering customer insights and focusing on social networks.

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