It takes a certain kind of person to dedicate themselves to ephemeral work. To know that not long after it’s finished, it’ll be gone. Just ask any graffiti or Subway sandwich artist. And after five years of building structures just so they could be destroyed, even the Clash of Clans‘ video game character The Builder reached his breaking point.
The other week, the mobile game character decided to leave the insanely popular mobile game, in a video that now has more than 51 million views. On Friday he let fans know where he went–turns out it was Brooklyn. Anyone strolling down Old Fulton Street saw a giant statue of the game’s P.E.K.K.A. character, with a note to New Yorkers from the Builder.
Created by long-time Supercell agency Barton F. Graf, the statue was accompanied by an 18-foot Tesla Tower to act as an elaborate phone charger for passersby. The Builder is also on Instagram and LinkedIn, keeping people up to date on his IRL adventures. There’s also a contest for fans to Photoshop the Builder in their own favorite real-world locale.
Barton F. Graf executive creative director Jeff Benjamin says the idea was to mark the game’s five-year anniversary in a fun, unique way, that also celebrated one of its unsung characters. “We wanted to tell the story of the Builder because, he’s an unlikely hero,” says Benjamin. “He builds these things that everyone plays with and it al gets destroyed. But he hasn’t been a main hero that we’ve explored, so it seemed like a good story to tell.”
For all the game’s award-winning and hilarious ads over the years (remember AngryNeeson52?), the agency works very closely not only with the Supercell marketing client, but also the Clash of Clans game developers themselves. This time, Benjamin says they also consulted the fan community. “One of the things we did was look at what the players were loving, who they were playing with,” says Benjamin. “A lot of the great ideas over the years have been born out of the community, out of mining some of the conversations we see on Reddit and elsewhere, where we can chat with them. So they’re a very important part of the process.”
Barton F. Graf founder and chief creative officer Gerry Graf says the P.E.K.K.A. statue attracted fans of all types. “We were setting up the installation in Brooklyn (on Friday) morning when two cops came over, and our head of production went over with the permits,” says Graf. “And they said, ‘No, no, we just want to know if that’s P.E.K.K.A.’, and asked if they could take a few pictures.”
Graf says the long-term goal has been to make Clash of Clans into a Pixar, Warner Brothers, Disney-style group of characters. “So that they’d exist in the game, but would always be venturing out into other places. This is a great first step in that direction,” says Graf. “I think for fans, it just shows them how big this world is, and it’s a great way to bring the world of Clash to people who haven’t heard of it yet.”
The brand and agency won’t say just how long The Builder’s real-world sojourn will end, but that fans should expect more. Already, The Builder has posted flyers around Los Angeles, asking for project suggestions and giving fans a hotline to call.
“Somebody called the Builders Hotline and asked if he could dragon-proof their house,” says Graf.
“And we’re going to do it!” laughs Benjamin.