Loki Opened a Portal in Los Angeles in a Viral Stunt Promoting Meta’s New Game


In Meta Quest’s virtual reality roleplaying game, Asgard’s Wrath 2, trickster god Loki causes chaos by opening portals around the world. Agency BBDO used that plot to guide the game’s launch campaign, shocking attendees of The Game Awards Dec. 7 by constructing a 300-square-foot portal ripped into the Los Angeles skyline.

Founded in 2014, The Game Awards both celebrates the best games of the year and hypes upcoming releases. Loki voice actor Matt Mercer, one of the biggest stars in gaming, joined the event’s host and founder, Geoff Keighley, on stage for the world premiere of Asgard’s Wrath 2’s gameplay trailer.

When attendees left the Peacock Theater, they encountered a glowing purple portal, where they got a glimpse of Loki and his menacing minions.

The effect was pulled off through transparent screens held up by cranes that were hiding in plain sight, blending in with nearby construction. They were combined with audio, lighting and pyrotechnic effects that were tested first in a warehouse in Burbank, Calif., and then on location the night before the show. 

A street was closed so that attendees could get an optimal viewing angle, and the effects were calibrated to look good in-person and when captured on a phone. Footage of the stunt went viral on TikTok, earning more than 8 million views within less than one week.

“As our reality becomes more fluid and our virtual worlds expand into our real world, we wanted to create a campaign moment that lived in both—disrupting the digital realms, as well as the physical,” BBDO New York senior vice presidents and creative directors Ricky Bowry and Joe Fox told Adweek.

The reality-warping campaign kicked off in November with found footage-style video of Loki’s minions shared on Meta Quest’s Instagram.

A similar tactic was employed during the broadcast of the National Basketball Association’s Golden State Warriors at Phoenix Suns game Dec. 12, when an ad depicted a portal opening outside of the Footprint Center in downtown Phoenix.

The game’s cinematic trailer shows a woman watching a news report about the mysterious portals and donning her VR headset to fight Loki’s forces in the game.

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