Shopper Innovation Awards: Ubisoft brings live action to fans

To promote its game Watch_Dogs, the gaming co brought the experience to life, putting consumers at the heart of the action.

This story appears in the May 2015 issue of strategy.WatchDogsImage

Gold: Tech Breakthrough

Ubisoft launched its game franchise Watch_Dogs at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in mid-2013. But with a store release date of March 2014, it needed to keep the game top-of-mind and drive pre-orders during the 10 months between launch and release.

Ubisoft’s target audience of hardcore gamers are constantly exposed to digital innovation, and they’re always looking for something new. They’re also cynical about marketing around game launches.

Ultimately, the only thing they want to do is play the game. So the brand decided that, instead of telling consumers about Watch_Dogs, it would invite them to experience the game for themselves, in real life.

Ubisoft’s agency Publicis created a mobile application called Watch_Dogs Live, which was used to build an engaged community over the entire 10-month period.

Watch_Dogs Live brought the game to life, putting consumers at the heart of the action. It allowed the brand to communicate with the audience via in-app push messages that included weekly challenges, live streams and mission videos. Ubisoft also offered gamers the chance to move up the game leaderboard by pre-ordering the game.

There were more than 202,000 app downloads (double the original goal). The app also ranked in the top five games in the App Store within weeks of its release.

Ubisoft reached an 80% engagement level, which ultimately drove Watch_Dogs pre-sales, which were five times the industry norm for a new franchise, and it is the best-selling new title in Ubisoft Canada’s history.


Advertiser: Ubisoft Canada
Ubisoft team: Olivier Ernst, Lucile Bousquet, Adam Climan, Jeyson Acevedo, Mona Menassa, Marie-Claude Gagné
Agency: Publicis Montreal
Global CD: Erik Vervroegen
CDs: Carl Robichaud, Nicolas Massey
ADs: Julien Thiry, Xuan Pham, Edern Talhouet
CW: Michael Aronson
VP integrated services: Sebastien Viau
Group account director: Andrée Losier
Account supervisor: Sandra Heintz
Account manager: Mai Lan Nguyen
Digital production director: Gustavo Gomez
Project manager: Isabelle Bedard
Production coordinator: Anne-Christel Rajoelina
Experiential account manager: Laurence-Étienne Hillman
Media agency: ZenithOptimedia
Media account supervisors: Marie Vidal, Marie-Claude Dion
PR agency: North Strategic
Other partners: Circus Intersection,, Gearwerx, Codmorse, Sonart, Boogie studio