Script Kill: The Chinese Marketing Trend You Can’t Ignore

Murder Mystery game has been a beloved dinner game by many since the last century . Like any other entertainments, it found its way to the orient and has adapted to the local culture. In China, Murder Mystery is known as “Script Kill (剧本杀)”, which has made its way into the lives of millions of young Chinese with no sign of stopping.

Having witnessed such an up-rising trend, Chinese marketers have already added it to their marketing toolbox – including big names like Tencent!


What is it?

​​Script Kill in China is very similar to the western Mystery games. Usually in a group of 4-6 people, players are immersed in a fictional story, trying to solve the mystery through interrogations and evidence searching.

The theme of Script Kill runs the gamut: From classic murder to survival games, from historical drama to alien invasion… And of course, branded games!


How Did It Gain Its Hype?

In 2016, an online variety show, Who’s the Murderer, took off among the younger generation. This show introduced Script Kill games to the Chinese audience. The loyal audience of the show started to create their own version of the game by writing original Murder Mystery game scripts – thus the name, Script Kill.

Gradually, Chinese Script Kill found its zealous crowd online, then swiftly expanded to offline game venues.

In 2018, the two most popular Script Kill apps – “I’m the Mystery (我是谜)” and “The Great Detective(百变大侦探)” – both received series A funding from well-known Chinese VCs.

Offline game venues spawned rapidly in 2019, growing from 2,400 venues to 12,000 in a year.


How Popular is Script Kill ?



3 Types of Script Kill in Chinese Marketing

Chinese Script Kill stems from existing experiential marketing tactics, such as themed hotels and immersive installations. But Script Kill is more than that – Its innate social element of the game, in addition to the boundless story set-up, makes it an unparalleled marketing medium.

But how can marketers maximise the values of Script Kill? By analysing the numerous case studies across major industries, we have summarised 3 key types of branded Script Kill games as an experiential marketing tactic:

1. Be the story:

What is the better way to bring your brand story to life than inviting your consumers to be a part of it? By transforming your brand story into the setting of a Script Kill game, the participants are able to form long-lasting impressions of the brand story, and facilitate an emotional bond with it.

The top Chinese battle game, Arena of Valor, collaborated with Peking University to produce a Script Kill game based on one of the game’s background stories. Riding on the trend of in-person gaming experience, this branded game would be available at partnered offline venues only.

2. Be The Evidence

Evidence props are usually the key to solving the mystery. No wonder the time players spent on examining the props. Why not use this as a product placement opportunity to showcase your product features and functionalities?

Xianyu, a second-hand marketplace under Alibaba, turned some of their iconic second-hand products into game evidence. By this, Xianyu intended to showcase the quality and uniqueness of their products, sprinkled with an extra layer of surprise.

3. Host the Game

Script Kill players yearn for an immersive and enchanting game setting to construct the alternative universe. If brands are able to build a brand space as the stage of the game, you are essentially depicting to the audience what their lives would be like with your brand and products.

Kukahome, a furniture brand, turned their showroom into an offline game venue. Players were able to experience the interior design while playing the branded game. The event was also live streamed with live commerce to make instant sales of the displayed products.


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