Space hits play on branded content

Ubisoft's Assassin's Creed Unity game is getting its own 30-minute special on the channel's Innerspace show.
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Gamers anticipating the release of Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed Unity will have a reason to switch off their game consoles on Monday.

Innerspace, a daily entertainment talk show that covers video games, as well as film, television and technology on Bell Media’s Space channel, has partnered with Ubisoft to air a half-hour program about the latest installment in the blockbuster franchise, one day before the game goes on sale.

Dedicating a full show to an advertiser is unusual for the media co, says Marc-André Dubé, group leader of Bell Media Mix, but in this case Bell felt the content was unique and relevant to viewers of the show and would offer them a “privileged experience with the brand.”

‘We don’t sell shows to advertisers,” Dubé says. “There has to be something for the viewers in order for us to build something custom like this.”

The integration  is complementary to Ubisoft’s media buy, which includes 30-second spots used to promote a trip contest, the 30-minute special and ads for the game itself.

Bell worked with  Bleublancrouge to create the ad package, which also included airing in October three and five minute segments covering Ubisoft’s fan experiences at Fan Expo and the Canadian National Exhibition, both in Toronto.

Dubé says the show will keep its usual format so that the content feels authentic. The show is intended to be a companion to the game, he says, equating it with a booklet that will explore the French Revolution. In Paris, for instance, the show will explore the links between scenes in the game and the real-life monuments in the modern-day city.

“You don’t want to be force-fitting any content so we  kept the usual way Innerspace is made with segments and interviews,” he says. “It’s taking the Assassin’s Creed content and integrating it into the usual style of the show.”

Innerspace will also travel to Paris with four winners of an Ubisoft Assassin’s Creed Unity contest. The crew will produce a segment for the show, to air later this month, featuring the fans getting to experience modern-day Paris and learn about the French Revolution. 

The contest was promoted with ads airing on Bell Media-owned channels RDS, Z, Discovery, Space, Comedy, MuchMusic, and TSN, as well as on Teletoon and MusiquePlus. One of the show’s host, Ajay Fry, has also been promoting the show and game on his social media channels.

While this TV partnership is unique, it is not the first time Ubisoft has worked with Bell Media Mix. In 2013, Bell and ZenithOptimedia ran a month-long digital, TV and OOH campaign for Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, which included placing an Assassin’s flag atop a mega-column poster situated in front of the EA Games offices – Ubisoft’s main competitor.