BETC has created a huge range of campaigns which have resulted in wide-scale audience engagement with their client’s brand, but none so quite as much as with their campaign for Ubisoft’s 2016 video game release, The Division.
Set in a post-apocalyptic world, Ubisoft’s brand new IP spanning from the Tom Clancy line was seen to be a potentially massive hit for the company due to its intriguing storyline, open-world style of play – for which other Tom Clancy games are not known for – and the availability of multiplayer integration within its single-player modes.
One of the most compelling elements of The Division is that it was evolving away from the tactical shooters of the traditional Tom Clancy line to invoke a powerful storyline and a new way to play. So, to help Ubisoft show the world this new idea and its new form of game, BETC created an online and mobile simulation mini-game called Collapse.
The Division takes place after a weaponised virus has destroyed much of the planet’s population, leaving the player and their team to save what’s left. To really hammer home the story, BETC decided to demonstrate to the world that the plot of The Division isn’t just fiction, but that it could actually come to pass.
In Collapse, players take on the role of patient zero in the end-of-society simulator. Within the mini-game, the actions that the player inputs into the real-world map – which uses real-world facts and statistics – affect how quickly the virus spreads across the world, eventually resulting in the complete collapse of society. BETC utilised Open Street Map, IATA flight routes, input from emergency risk specialists, and NASA data make the simulator as realistic as possible, with the use of the player’s exact location making the simulator true to everyone who tried Collapse. Player’s were also given choices within the simulator, such as which country to fly to, adding an element of skill and tactical planning to the player’s plight of stopping the world’s imminent demise.
Collapse was a huge hit that really captured the imaginations of people, not just gamers, all over the world, clocking in 1 million plays in less than one week. News outlets from all over the world picked up the story and pitched it as a demonstration tool of the apocalypse, crediting it for its immersive and realistic feel. Below is the campaign video from BETC, explaining just how they wanted to go about bringing the story of the upcoming video game into real-life.
BETC’s campaign and creation of Collapse had a profound impact on the sales of the already highly-anticipated Ubisoft game. With Collapse expanding The Division’s potential audience immensely through its method of telling the game’s intriguing plot via a simulation game, the early 2016 release went on to break the industry titan’s day-one sales records both at retail and digitally, going on to become the fastest selling new IP ever, according to Forbes.
At the conclusion of 2016, it was found that The Division came third in sales, only behind Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare and Battlefield 1. The fact that The Division was a new franchise and was only out-done by gigantic, established franchises is credit to campaign surrounding the game’s release and the quality of the game itself. This came in the same year that the incredibly popular The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim was re-released for the new generation of consoles with its Special Edition.
In Skyrim Special Edition, which came at a much lower price than regular triple-A games, all of the DLCs were included, with Dawnguard, which sees the battle between vampires and vampire hunters, being of particular obsession among fans. Vampires have long been a point of interest in pop-culture, with even earlier games than Skyrim’s Dawnguard, firmly maintaining their popularity over the years. The fact that Skyrim Special Edition boasted the inclusion of the epic DLC Dawnguard and was still outdone by the new IP is a testament to Ubisoft’s and BETC’s efforts.
Here’s how BETC further evoked the premise of The Division to potential gamers with its advert, ‘Yesterday’.
BETC had partnered up with Ubisoft in the past, creating adverts for some of their other big video game releases. In 2015, they created ‘Blades’, which was an advert for Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate.
In 2016, Ubisoft risked launching two of their biggest games of the year within mere weeks of each other, creating competition within itself – which many companies wouldn’t risk. So BETC had to create fantastic campaigns for both. As shown, they did a phenomenal job for the brand new The Division, and also managed to reel in a grand audience for Far Cry Primal.
Their memorable advert which invokes all of the most interesting elements of the Far Cry spinoff game were utilised in ‘The Charge’ to increase the intrigue and hype for the upcoming game. Despite being released towards the end of the month, Ubisoft announced, via Polygon, that Far Cry Primal’s February sales total was a record for the game industry.
The Division now has a sequel on the way, due on the 15th of March, 2019, now boasting a sturdy audience that was hooked by the game’s unique universe through the compelling, headline-catching simulator Collapse that was created by BETC.
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