Cisco MNC Case Study


The Mars Network Challenge – empowering engineers to build and deploy their network easily.

Launch Site


Readying a network to meet the accelerating demands of today’s digital enterprise is serious business. The network provisioning tools of yesterday are simply not agile, scalable, updatable, or powerful enough to address current digitization, cloud, security, internet of things, or mobility demands.

Cisco, the leader in network technology and innovation, understands the challenges that network engineers face as they try to adapt. In fact, it’s the reason behind a new software solution they created called DNA Center. For the first time, setting up and managing a network—regardless of the environment or scale—is easier and faster than ever. Now, they just needed a marketing vehicle to promote it.

Mars Network Challenge Tablets


A game-changing product like DNA Center needed an equally unique marketing vehicle to fuel awareness, engagement, and conversion. And that’s precisely what we conceived, built, and launched.

We started by leading the Cisco team through a Design Sprint, a five-day process that reveals important insights about the wants and needs of a brand’s customers and the primary problems we need to solve on their behalf. It also allows us to brainstorm product ideas, build a working product prototype, and finally test it with customers prior to launch, dramatically reducing common risks associated with bringing products to market. This design sprint yielded a couple of interesting facts:

“During The1stMovement’s Design Sprint, we learned that the journey to Mars is considered an important human endeavor for global audiences. While it was important that we create a scalable online platform, it was critical that the story have universal appeal as the game had to be delivered in 23 languages across 43 countries.” - Ido Glazer, Marketing Manager at Cisco


After testing various ideas, we landed on a concept that blended the dexterity of tower defense games with the simplicity of matching games. These game styles, proven to support mass audience engagement, made for an excellent adaptation to the “Journey to Mars” story.

The global reach and iterative nature of the campaign meant we needed to start with an architecture that was easy to implement, manage, and scale. To help achieve those objectives, we turned to Google Firebase for the job. Thanks to Firebase, we were able to focus on speed and simplicity, while also benefiting from a real-time database and user authentication, right out-of-the-box. With our streamlined service architecture in place, we were able to put much of our focus on the game itself.

For the game development, we utilized standard web technologies to create a web-based game that could be played across a variety of devices and browsers. Cisco’s enterprise network solutions were incorporated into increasingly difficult levels so audiences could experience them in a thematic, story-driven experience.

Mars Network Challenge Event

Lift Off

After an intense countdown to Cisco Live, we successfully launched the first set of levels to great fanfare at the event. Once Cisco Live concluded, the game continued to expand with new levels, challenges and fierce competition for the top spot on the leaderboard.

To continue to both entertain and inform the audience, game levels featuring other Cisco solutions were incorporated over an 18 month campaign strategy. Additional events like Cisco Live in Barcelona helped capture the vivid imagination of a true journey to Mars.

Mars Network Challenge Event

Mission accomplished

The game concept and platform delivered on its promise. It’s not only been among the top content performers on for customer engagement but has also been played by over 50,000 customers from countries like Germany, India, Australia, China, United Kingdom, Netherlands, and more.

Digital Brand Strategy, Content Strategy, User Experience Design, User Interface Design, Web Development

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