Spotted! Ubisoft hacks an interactive home

The game maker hosted fans at an interactive home tour, then invited online users to tamper with the results.

Ubisoft took a traditional live brand event one step further recently. Inviting fans to an event, which was then hacked by others online.

That’s the kind of hacker experience that Ubisoft Canada launched with its Live Dedsec Hack in support of the upcoming launch of Watch Dogs 2.

The event invited game fans to an interactive home tour on Oct. 13, featuring the HAUM, the in-game connected home technology used in Watch Dogs 2. Then other online fans were invited to tamper with everything in the home, from the lighting, to the music and the heat, as part of the “Dedsec R3sistance” campaign that’s also part of Watch Dogs.

The entire event was live streamed on Facebook Live and YouTube, attracting more than 350,000 impressions during the event, said Lucile Bousquet, senior director of marketing and communications, Ubisoft Canada. The live interactive home hack was also streamed on a billboard at Yonge-Dundas Square. Media on the campaign was done in-house, with Bleublancrouge as the lead creative agency on the campaign, support from North Strategic on PR, 4C4 on web development, Czar on events and production from 1One Production.

“This is the first time we have done a live event on Facebook and YouTube,” said Bousquet. “We have done live events before, but nothing this big.”

The Oct. 13 event was promoted to fans with a live takeover on TSN and RDS, where Ubisoft worked with Bell Media to simulate the sites being hacked. That included playing with some of the news on the site that day, posting 41 comments and generating content from a war room that included teams from Bell Media and Ubisoft. Bousquet said 50% of traffic to Ubisoft’s site on the 13th was sent from TSN and RDS.

Bousquet said non-traditional elements promoting the game, such as the live interactive home hack and a documentary series created with Vice Media, are all aimed at targeting Watch Dogs 2‘s target demo of millennial males, which over-index on ad-blockers and are less likely to tune into traditional media.

Overall, 40% of the promotional budget for the launch of Watch Dogs 2, which begins its release on Nov. 15, has been spent ahead of the game’s launch. Those activations have been primarily non-traditional, aimed at increasing the number of pre-launch orders, said Bousquet. The remaining 60% of the game’s promotional budget will be spent on more traditional channels after the game is released.