Game copywriting: Paint and interior decorating

The game copywriting challenge

AkzoNobel, the global company that makes Dulux paint among other household-name products, asked the agency contracting me, MSL Group London, to make a quiz-style game to promote its 2018 interior paint colour palettes.

The quiz was aimed primarily at interior design thought leaders in social media. It should help audiences easily identify how their own lifestyle, preferences and pleasures fit against three colour palette ‘personalities’: warm-hearted, open-hearted and light-hearted.

Game copywriting persona 2: open-hearted

AkzoNobel’s process in developing the 2018 colour palettes was deeply thought-through, considering changes in the wider world and how these would impact on people’s feelings about home.

I was asked to write:

  • the quiz’s name and introduction
  • eight questions, each with three potential answers
  • nine potential quiz outcomes, detailing how the user’s personality and lifestyle fits between three master palette ‘personalities’.

The questions would also be accompanied by animated illustrations, so needed to suggest a visual interpretation.

AkzoNobel Your ColourFutures quiz game example question

The quiz intended a global audience and would be translated into eight languages, so I needed to be aware when writing of avoiding local concepts and easily mistranslated words.

My response

I read the AkzoNobel’s style guide and ColourFutures 2018 International Colour Trends 2018 (PDF, 16MB) cover-to-cover. These gave me a strong sense what AkzoNobel were saying, and how they liked to say it.

I discussed the quiz’s technical design with the programmers on my team, to understand how the answers would be calculated. This meant I was able to suggest tweaking the design so the method of answering and results would be more meaningful for the user. It also meant I could write better questions and answer options.

I knew from the beginning that writing the questions would be especially challenging because I was asked to relate each to:

  • one of eight trends of the year: 24/7, technology, big data, social media, algorithms, CCTV, fake news, information saturation
  • one of eight elements of life: shelter, technology, nature, relationships, food, interior, work, transport, AND
  • a room in a domestic home, such as kitchen, living room, bathroom or child’s bedroom.

To do this, I would have to fully understand what was meant by each trend and element, and explore how they could be linked together in as many ways as possible, without duplication.

I researched recent news stories relating to each trend to be sure I understood their meaning correctly.

AkzoNobel ColourFutures game trends, elements and rooms matrix

I made colour-coded cards for each trend, element and room, and rearranged these until relationships started to suggest themselves.I was able to make a question for each combination, with a few alternatives to give the team and client some choice –– unexpected, given the brief’s tightness!

I was aware throughout to avoid assumptions like that users would have children, a partner, work outside the home or drive a car, so the quiz would be relevant to a broad audience.

Writing the results was also challenging, as most needed to mix existing persona descriptions in a way that would be meaningful and accurate for users.

AkzoNobel Your ColourFutures game quiz copywriting example outcome

The results

I think the best way to see the success of this copywriting project is to try Your ColourFutures (opens in new window):

AkzoNobel Your ColourFutures game quiz copywriting screenshot

I hope you feel the questions and answers relate your life. On the off chance your colour palette isn’t quite up your street, stay tuned for ColourFutures 2019.

Your ColourFutures shows I can be creative within a very tight brief by extending my own understanding alongside using existing skills to meet clients’ needs.

Use my services

If you have a challenging copywriting brief for an online game, app or other context that needs pithy, crisp copy, please contact me for a free quote.

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