Share of voice doesn’t matter; it’s about share of culture.EA Games,

Every market has a culture. There is wine culture, car culture and gaming culture. There is football culture, food culture and startup culture. You get the point. The way advertisers should sell into these markets is not to focus of capturing share of voice in their competitive set, but capturing share of culture with their target.

What do we mean by culture?

People who share a culture share values, a common language, history, heroes, symbols, legendary stories and, more often than not, a set of media partners. If brands want to participate in the culture of their targets’ market they need to share the culture’s values and language, celebrate its history, and contribute to its stories and legends.

An example.

By way of example, let’s look at the launch of Titanfall that we executed for Electronic Arts.

Titanfall was one of the most highly anticipated game releases in the last couple of years, particularly because it’s the very first game developed by the creators of Call of Duty since they left Activision.

The game is known as a “first person shooter” (FPS), and the goal of EA and Respawn was to refresh the FPS genre and move the category of gaming forward. As a result, the game itself is different than any other FPS on the market.

As we thought about the best way to launch this groundbreaking title, a couple of things became clear:

  • Because we were launching a game that was going to push the category forward, we wanted to celebrate the history of gaming and acknowledge the giants of the past on whose shoulders we were standing.
  • Because we were communicating with a target who has their own language and who tends to ignore those who do not speak their language, we wanted create assets that they could use to talk to one another.
  • And because we were establishing a new title, we wanted to likewise establish a new storyline in the category.

Life is better with a Titan.

The idea that drove the campaign was “Life is Better with a Titan” – a fun, playful concept that allowed us to show people that everything (but especially gaming) was better with a Titan.

1. We pushed the idea forward by creating a piece of long-form video content that used a combination of live action and game footage, giving gamers a playful way to see how everything – such as the morning walk to work – was “Better with a Titan.” Since its release, the video has received over 10 million YouTube views, about twice the number of people who watch The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.

2. We celebrated the history of gaming by partnering with Atari and licensing the historical Titans of gaming: Centipede, Missile Command, and Asteroids. We made them “better” by adding a Titan mech to the gameplay of each, and then turned the games into playable ad units. Within the first week of the campaign, millions of games had been played, and industry publications like IGN were buzzing with positive reaction to the execution.

3. We communicated with gamers in their own language by leaning into animated GIFs. Once a simple way to share very short video clips online, animated GIFs have become a language of their own, with millions of people using them to quickly communicate, whether it’s with amusement, confusion, disgust and so on. We created the Titanfall GIF generator to allow people to create their own GIFs to share with their friends. During the first week of the campaign, tens of thousands of GIFs were created, and were viewed an average of 10 times each – providing a viral boost to the reach of the campaign.

None of this matters if sales don’t move.

The result? The game has flown off the shelves, selling nearly a million copies in the first week of release, outpacing all of its rivals:


Some estimates are indicating that the game launch helped Microsoft sell an additional million XBox One consoles.

This is just one example.

Focusing on share of culture – rather than share of voice – can make advertising more effective. It allows brands to go from interrupting experiences to enhancing them, and as a result is far more appreciated by consumers.

If you’d like to see more examples, or talk about how we can help your brand capture share of culture, contact us.

Ad Age, Creativity, Wired, IGN all fall for Titanfall.EA Games,

For the launch of the EA’s Titanfall campaign, we gave advertising, business and tech press an inside look at both strategy and creative. The campaign was a multi-faceted effort with numerous executions; it paid homage to classic Atari games and new memes, and infiltrated the Titanfall brand deep into the gaming and Internet communities to capture share of culture.

Play the Titanfall Arcadedrop a Titan on your biggest pet peeve, or check out the campaign coverage below.


EA Powers Up Atari Classics ‘Asteroids’ and ‘Centipede’ to Promote ‘Titanfall’ Launch
Ad Age
Heat gives Ad Age a comprehensive look at the multi-pronged Titanfall campaign. Carolyn Feinstein, SVP of Global Consumer Marketing at EA, and Heat Creative Director Warren Cockrel spoke with Ad Age about the watershed moment in gaming culture that is the launch of Titanfall.

The Making of the Titanfall Atari Games 
Apparently the folks at IGN love the Titanfall Old School Arcade so much that they spent a significant amount of time playing during their company off-site.

EA Imagines Life With Your Very Own Titan In Launch Spot For Titanfall
The extended cut of our “Life is Better with a Titan” spot, titled “Shadow,” is the Editor’s Pick.

Asteroids Plus Titanfall Equals Retro Absurdity

Put a Titan on It: Titanfall’s Giant Robots Get the GIF and Atari Treatment

Heat Develops Major Ad Launch For EA’s Titanfall 

Heat, Hungry Man Unleash ‘Shadow’ for EA’s ‘Titanfall’
MediaBistro/Agency Spy

Heat proves that “Life is Better With a Titan” and  More Titan Fall fun from Heat
SF Egotist

We’re hiring.Jobs

Heat is an award winning full-service advertising agency located in San Francisco, California, with both local and national brands on our client roster. We are a small agency with big ideas, and big heart, and have just been listed as one of the best places to work in the Bay Area by the San Francisco Business Times.

Heat is looking for someone with a killer combination of strategic thinking and social media savvy. We’re looking for someone who can be involved in all facets of social media programming for our clients. We need someone who can develop and present the overall strategy, as well as actively manage communities and content. This position represents a somewhat unique opportunity to own both the social media strategy and implementation of said strategy. We need someone who can be:

  • A strategist: Walking C-level executives through social media strategy
  • A creative: Writing Facebook updates/tweets, etc. in the voice of brand and/or working with our creative department to do so
  • A community manager: Listening and responding to consumers, managing the community and/or facilitate responses with clients
  • A trendspotter: Providing POVs on emerging trends and platforms in this space

The Social Media Manager will report to our Managing Director of Communications Planning and Media, but the successful candidate will be a natural collaborator who can move effortlessly throughout the different functions of the marketing organization, both within and outside the agency walls.

Our ideal candidate has between 5-7 years of experience and has:

  • The ability to be client facing
  • Knowledge of all major social networks, and the ability to plan content and programs that optimize the features of those networks
  • Ability to pull social media reporting from each network and turn it into a report for the client
  • Ability to do some community management, and reply directly to inbound social messages with little oversight
  • Some knowledge of SEO best practices, for things like optimizing copy and keywords used on video uploads
  • Ability to take a budget from the client and make recommendations for the best use of those dollars over the course of the year

To apply, please send a cover letter and resume to:

We got next.EA Sports

It happens about every seven years or so. Your taste buds change, a comet with some weird name passes close to earth and Madden launches on a new generation of game consoles. So with XBox One and PS4 rolling into stores just before Thanksgiving, Madden 25 needed to show the gaming world what was up. The game plan was simple: hit gamers where they hang out and show them how next-level Madden on next-gen is. With launch TV spots, a 6 second Madden Evolution Vine video and long format content created with Dude Perfect, gamers got to see and feel the huge leap forward that is Madden 25. Also, they got to jam out to some pretty sick 8-bit music.

Good morning, Tucson.Blog

A weekend at The One Club’s Creative Leaders Retreat.

About a month ago, I signed up for The One Club’s Creative Leaders Retreat and to be honest, I was a little nervous and didn’t know what to expect.

The event was in Tucson, Arizona. As my plane descended on the desert, butterflies swirled in my coffee-laden belly. I was alone, going to an advertising retreat. Holy shit, I hate being alone in this kind of situation. I usually like a having a meeting-new-people-wingman to feel safe. But it was too late – I was in the desert with no net.

I walked into the Loews Ventana Resort thinking it was going to be like Spring Break—only with Creative Directors. I thought the ego energy would be so thick that I would choke and vomit. I thought it would be like Revenge of the Nerds 2: Nerds in Paradise at the pool. Chicken fights and topless women. Instead, I walked into a spa-like environment where the only thing I could hear was a quiet fountain and my own heartbeat.

I went to the pool and feel asleep.

That night was the first “meet and greet.” I walked in by myself and the first person I passed put his hand out and introduced himself with a nice smile. I was skeptical. But one person after the other politely introduced himself or herself. I guess maybe we were all in the same boat. And then it hit me: I was at college orientation all over again. Everyone alone, everyone stretching their social comfort zone and making the best of it.

Friday, February 21st

The next morning at breakfast, I was first in line at the buffet. Shocker. All of us early birds sat at the same table. I’m not sure if it was the coffee or the bacon, but the energy was amazing. I met two CDs from an agency in Norfolk who are doing amazing work, a very tall Mormon CD from a Cleveland agency and a guy that owns his own agency in Albuquerque.

The day was filled with breakout sessions, each an hour of an ad exec speaking. I started with Kevin Roddy, CCO of Riney SF. He worked at Odiorne Wilde Narraway & Partners, I worked at Odiorne Wilde Narraway & Partners. He worked at BBH NY. I worked at BBH NY. WTF?! Were we secretly ad stalking each other? Probably not. He had a lot to say about what a Creative Director does, versus the role of a Creative Leader. I hadn’t realized that there was a difference.

Other people I heard from that day included Jim Riswold, former W+K CD; Nancy Vonk, former CCO of Ogilvy Toronto; and John Butler, ECD and co-founder of Butler, Shine, Stern and Partners. Topics ranged from tips on how to be the best CD you can be (cue the Army commercial), to the consequences of saying “yes” to a client all the time. Really cool stuff.

Despite my fear of rattlesnakes and the kind of cacti that eat you, my breakfast crew and I went on a desert hike before dinner. Nobody died.

I then proceeded onto dinner with the breakfast crew. It was cold and I forgot a jacket. I ate three different kinds of meats and two desserts and had multiple laughs. Then I went to bed.

Saturday, February 22nd

I woke up stuffy from the air conditioning, but ready to attack the buffet with focus. I succeeded.

The Retreat sessions that day included Andy Azula from the Martin Agency, who talked about the CD’s responsibility to the “Big Idea;” and Susan Credel, CCO of Leo Burnett Chicago, who spoke about social media. Super informative.

After the sessions, I headed to the gym where I watched two episodes of The Brady Bunch.

Dinner that night was a cook-out. There was also a mechanical bull. I ate two T-bone steaks and had an awesome conversation with Susan Credle and Mimi Cook from Y&R SF. They told me about their careers and how they ended up where they did. It was really inspiring to have such nice conversations with fellow ad folks, and I appreciated how open they were with me.

The evening ended for me after I watched the first drunk person unsuccessfully ride the mechanical bull.

I woke in the middle of the night with the meat sweats.

Sunday, February 23rd

Early the next morning on the way to the airport as the sun rose over the desert, I thought long about a few things.

The first is that great work can happen in any market and in any size agency. The people from these shops – or at least the people that I met – are super passionate about making cool stuff and they have a lot to say.

I heard them.

I thought about how nervous I was on the plane at the idea of meeting new people, especially in the ad business. Throughout my 15-year career, I’ve heard a lot of people talk about how there are a lot of assholes in this business. There certainly weren’t any in the desert that weekend.

Who knows, maybe all the assholes stayed home and watched the Olympics.

- Mark Lawson, Creative Director

Four Heaters named to SF’s list of “32 under 32″ ad talent.News

AD2SF and the SF Egotist partnered to “identify and recognize San Francisco’s greatest young advertising and marketing talent – the 32 Under 32.”

We’re all verklempt here at Heat. Not one, but FOUR of our Heaters were named to the list. Please join us in clapping loudly for:

  • Megan Robershotte, Account Manager
  • Katie Ramp, Director of Talent
  • Jeff Fang, Senior Art Director
  • Mark Rasoul, Content Producer

A hearty congrats to these fabulous ladies and gents. We’re greatly honored we get to call them our coworkers. Maybe now Kitty will make them part of her coffee maker post-it drawings.

Peruse the full “32 Under 32” list on SF Egotist here.

(Shameless gloat: Heat also has more folks on the list than any other SF agency represented. Our Director of Communications thought it wasn’t a bad idea to point this out.)

Drop a Titan on it.EA Games, ,

Now when life hands you lemons, you can crush them into a heap of burning pixels with the DROP A TITAN ON IT GIF GENERATOR. To extend our “Life Is Better With A Titan” campaign for EA and Respawn’s Titanfall game launch, we released a lo-fi tool that let fans deploy GIFs of megaton Titans annihilating their biggest pet peeves. Tens of thousands of GIFs were made and shared — most of which feature Justin Bieber, PS4, cats and Doge.

Damn, it feels good to have a Titan BFF.EA Games, ,

How does it feel to have a 25-foot Titan at your beck and call? Pretty freakin’ amazing. In fact, every aspect of life is better with a Titan. So we set out to capture the ear-to-ear grinning invincibility you feel when you first climb into your very own Titan and start dominating the world. That is, until Kevin John runs up behind you and rips your control panel out. Stupid Kevin John.