Despite making up almost half of the gaming community, women continue to face “discrimination, bullying and sexist insults” from men, according to a new Xbox campaign by agency Serviceplan in Germany.
The brand found a novel way to raise awareness of the issue: It swapped out the Xbox controller’s B button with an equal sign on a limited edition set of controllers sent out to gaming influencers.
When the equal button was pressed, the controller played a one of nine audio files featuring inspirational and supportive messages from prominent women in the industry.
These were from Bonnie Ross, founder and head of Halo franchise studio 343 Industries; Cantika, one of the most popular streamers in Southeast Asia; Helen Chiang, studio head of Minecraft; Sarah Bond, corporate vice president of the Xbox gaming ecosystem; and Jennifer Lufau, founder of Afrogameuses, a French nonprofit advocating diversity and inclusion in gaming.
As part of the campaign, Xbox also commissioned a strong roster of illustrators, including Alina Bohoru, Fernando Nunes, Matt Taylor, Muti, Nils Baumann, Sam Rodriguez, Thomas Ardelt and Tudor Cucu und Vals to honor women in the gaming community.
The artwork formed part of the limited edition controller packaging designs, and illustrations of female leaders were also shared across Xbox’s social channels last month.
Maxi Gräff, marketing communications lead at Xbox DACH in Germany, Austria and Switzerland said the aim was to show how gaming is, and should be, “for everyone.”
“We at Xbox want everyone within the gaming community to be equally welcome and treated with respect,” she said. “The controller stands for the support women in gaming have for each other and has been sent to supportive women gamers around the world.”
Maximilian Schöngen, global creative strategist at Serviceplan, added: “We would like to thank Xbox for trusting us to implement this global campaign. Where better to place a message against discrimination in gaming than in the controller itself?”
Global Chief Creative Officer Serviceplan Group: Alexander Schill
Global Creative Strategist Serviceplan Creative Board: Maximilian Schöngen
Managing Partner Creation Serviceplan Campaign Hamburg: Leif Johannsen
Managing Partner Creation Serviceplan Campaign Hamburg: Patrick Matthiensen
Creative Director Copy Serviceplan Campaign Hamburg: Daniel Steller
Creative Director Art Serviceplan Campaign Hamburg: Pavel Bondarenko
Art Director Serviceplan Group: Tudor Cucu
Junior Art Director Serviceplan Group
Business Director Serviceplan Global Key Account Management: Diane Schulz
Account Director Serviceplan Campaign Hamburg: Ann-Kathrin Frohloff
Head of Design Serviceplan: Ben Hug
Media Designer Saint Elmo’s Hamburg: Till Felix