Thinking outside the [X]box

If you’re the type that gets out and about, then you’re likely to have seen promo material that looks something like this:

destiny ps4















and if you haven’t, well then you just don’t get out and about. Or you’re just not a gamer. Or someone who uses the internet. Or social media. Or someone who keeps up with digital news for their MKF3881 blog posts. Ha, caught!

Anyway, this is Destiny.

Destiny is a brand new sci-fi shooter game from the developers Activision as well as Bungie, who are the creators of the Microsoft exclusive legendary hit, Halo. And if you haven’t heard of Halo then you really don’t get out and about. Because you don’t have to be a gamer [or someone who uses the internet, or social media, or someone who keeps up with digital news for their MKF3881 blog posts] to know Halo. Also, you’re missing out on lots.

The cool thing about Destiny is that it is also massively multiplayer, meaning it reaches a huge audience. To give you an idea of its potential, the game World of Warcraft has been played by over 100,000,000 people – that’s one hundred million, in case you got lost in the zeros. 


WoW players

It’s theoretically a gold mine for marketers. And Chinese prison bosses.


The other cool thing about Destiny is that the developers spent US$500 million on creating and marketing the title. What’s even cooler is that they made all that back on the first day of sale. A lot of cool things about this game. 

Sony were quick to make the most of this huge release by striking an ‘exclusivity agreement’ with Activision for the game’s marketing. The deal was meant that all advertising material would only be associated with Sony and Playstation, and would not feature other consoles’ brand names or logos. The whole point of this was to plant the idea in people’s minds that Destiny was a Playstation-exclusive game, deceiving them into thinking the only way to jump on the Destiny bandwagon was to own a PS3 or PS4.

Sony could smell Microsoft’s fear. And it didn’t smell good. So Microsoft came up with a fragrance to cover it all up.

Enter Destiny: The New Fragrance by Xbox


That’s right, Xbox UK responded by cheekily advertising a “fragrance” called Destiny, through the website Of course, this isn’t a real perfume – although if it was, it would smell a lot like envy.

The website has now retreated its Destiny-associated material (probably because of a breach) and put up a boring message about Xbox One offers instead. But here’s what it looked like before:



Despite the retreat, the stunt has gone viral with all websites digital covering the story.

They weren’t allowed to promote the Xbox, so they’ve had others do it for them.


Finally, they’re thinking outside the box





  • What do you think of the stunt? Do you think the ‘fakegrance’ worked?
  • What else – quirky and creative – could Microsoft have done instead?
  • PS4 or Xbox One?





3 thoughts on “Thinking outside the [X]box

  1. Very interesting article! As someone who generally stays pretty current with gaming news and is also the proud owner of Destiny of the PS4, I’m honestly surprised that I hadn’t heard of this stunt until now.

    Though I am even more surprised that it was Microsoft, who has been burdened with a reputation of being ‘dull’ and ‘traditional’ who came up with such a creative way of advertising Destiny for the Xbone. Do you think that this ad is reflective of the corporate culture of the Xbox brand within Microsoft, or is it more indicative of a broader marketing charge for the company as a whole?


    • To be completely honest I didn’t realize either until I searched on the topic and the ad became the subject eventually! I was surprised it was Microsoft as well. You’re right about them being dull and traditional, it’s the same way I see the brand but maybe this is their way of telling the world that they’re creative. Who knows, we might see a few more ‘stunts’ by Microsoft in the near future!


    • Seconded, I vehemently followed Destiny but was never aware they did this cologne promotion until now – albeit it being misleading since it never existed. Nonetheless, kudos to Microsoft for following up with their promotion of Destiny with this, it was indeed creative, daring and surprising. It probably was better off leaving this as a stunt rather than a promotion for an actual Microsoft-branded cologne, that probably would’ve been disastrous given the context of the company.

      In terms of the ad, I feel that it was reflecting marketing change for the company as a whole – since, as stated previously, it was a way to spice up Microsoft’s perception of being a dull or stale-themed company. I personally embrace the idea of doing these sorts of ads to illustrate that companies like these are innovative and coming up with new products and services that provide hedonistic pleasure to its consumers. One prime example would be Windows 10, where they’ve re-introduced the start menu and made icons smaller and more ‘fun’ in the Technical Preview.

      This being said, the ad was taken down, perhaps for legal reasons. Do you think there was a better way or strategy Microsoft could’ve done to promote themselves with some form of similar stunt?


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