Ubisoft pushes gamers to their ‘breakpoint’

To help a Ghost Recon game stand out from its own titles and the competition, the developer shows how far fans will go for early access.

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Ubisoft Canada is testing the mettle of its fanbase, getting volunteer fans to do heart-pumping stunts to convey the excitement of playing Ghost Recon Breakpoint, its newest game.

The brand put out a public call and got fans to skydive, rappel down an office tower, leap over ramps on an ATV and raft through choppy waters with minimal notice, all while playing the new game. Ubisoft and agency partner Lg2 documented the proceedings, the result of which is four short online videos, as well as a one-minute mashup that is running on social channels.

“None of the fans knew what they were getting into until they got to the locations,” says Simon Joly, senior marketing manager at Ubisoft Canada. He says the skydiver featured, for example, had a 15 minute heads up. Joly says the brand wanted to convey the thrill and the intensity, but also the hype surrounding the game “and the fact that fans were willing to go that far to play it.”

Joly says the brand has been doing more in-house advertising lately, but for this campaign, Lg2 came up with an idea to have someone gaming while jumping out of a plane. From there, Ubisoft Canada and the agency played around with that theme to come up with a “breakpoint.” The campaign was also built on the insight that fans would “do anything” to be among the first to access the game.

Ghost Recon Breakpoint is a huge launch for the brand, Joly says, and the company noticed while preparing for the release that although the game franchise has been around for a while, it doesn’t have the same awareness of  its other titles, like Assassin’s Creed and Far Cry. He adds that with the game coming out Oct. 4, just before a new release in the popular Call of Duty franchise from competing gaming company Activision, the goal was to get as much attention for Ghost Recon as it could.

Joly says there’s been a lot of effort in the three years since the last game in the Ghost Recon series was released to asses fan feedback and cater to their needs. With such a wide breadth of titles at Ubisoft, Joly says getting granular with its targeting is key. For Ghost Recon Breakpoint, he says it it’s a co-op game, so the brand wants to reach out to groups of friends who are into fast-paced action, which is reflected in the campaign tone.

This ad campaign will be one of the bigger ones Ubisoft has run in recent years, Joly says. In addition to the online videos, there will be out-of-home deployed in downtown Toronto.