How Ubisoft Leveraged Video to Tackle a Wii Category Leader

Ubisoft faced a formidable challenge last holiday season as it prepared its entry to the Wii fitness category. Its new title, “Your Shape featuring Jenny McCarthy,” had to contend with an entrenched leader – Nintendo’s “Wii Fit” – and a strong #2 in “EA Sports Active.”

“The Wii landscape is becoming very cluttered,” said Adam Krause, senior manager of online advertising for Ubisoft. “Especially with fitness, it’s hard to differentiate.”

To boost awareness of the “Your Shape” program, Krause’s team put together an extensive offline and online media strategy that centered on video – a no-brainer since the title was associated with celeb model and actress Jenny McCarthy.

The campaign’s target audience was female fitness enthusiasts aged 25 to 49. More specifically, Ubisoft was after busy moms and women who lacked time to hit the gym. It handled all media planning in-house, but worked with technology and ad network partners to amplify reach.

In the online channel a key partner was DBG, a New York-based video ad network and production company. Ubisoft also worked with ShareThrough to enable social sharing buttons so users could spread its video assets on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

DBG, which stands for Digital Broadcasting Group, supported the campaign by compiling a group of websites where Ubisoft’s target audience could be found – including iVillage and other women-focused properties. It also produced the rich media ads.

“DBG was the distribution model for us,” said Krause. “With ‘Your Shape,’ we had assets galore. DBG had the clout to build [and disseminate] really engaging rich media.”

The campaign launched in November and continued to run through late January. For a gaming flight, Krause noted, that’s a very long window, since gaming companies tend to operate on similar timelines to movie studios. He said Ubisoft decided to extend the ad run for “Your Shape” to springboard off New Year’s resolutions.

Results

The campaign performed well on a range of metrics.

  • The average display time of 67 seconds was almost double DoubleClick’s 2009 industry benchmark of 37 seconds for in-page video ads. Part of that is owed to the nature of the content, which consisted of Jenny McCarthy talking to the audience in an informed way about their fitness choices.
  • DBG’s ads delivered a 13 percent interaction rate, more than five times DoubleClick’s industry benchmark of 2.42 percent for gaming titles, according to DBG and Ubisoft.
  • The campaign garnered 2.1 million completed video views of the intro video. The ratio of videos completed to impressions served was 35 percent, the companies said.
  • The click-through rate was an impressive .40 percent.
  • Community growth was an added benefit of the campaign. Ubisoft grew its Facebook audience during and after the launch campaign. It now measures approximately 36,000 users.

Krause called the effort, “One of the smoother running campaigns of the year.” He declined to share sales numbers. However, since the campaign launched, Ubisoft has pushed into new territory with its “Your Shape” franchise, announcing an extension into Microsoft’s Kinect controller-free interface for Xbox.

Engagement Metrics

Krause acknowledged there are problems with engagement metrics like “display time” and “interaction rate,” which can sometimes conceal as much as they reveal. He said he takes the good with the bad. “You have to take it with a grain of salt and realize there are negative interactions, whether it’s a mute or stop, [that contribute to] a higher interaction rate,” he said.

Krause believes that over time, as a campaign garners more interactions, negative actions tend to be diluted.

“People will only hit stop or mute once,” he said.

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