From the moment it was announced this March, Assassin’s Creed III epitomized a stake raised. Whether it was revealing the massive campaign, the American Revolution-colonial setting (the biggest world map in the series to date), or the clandestine three-year development process following Assassin’s Creed II, long-time developer/publisher Ubisoft made it clear they were committed to growth and evolution in all regards.
If you don’t believe us, just look at their marketing budget.
The British website MCV is reporting that Ubisoft plans to shell out over £4 million in the United Kingdom to support Assassin’s Creed III’s advertising initiative through the end of 2012, presumably in a bid to top Call of Duty: Black Ops II, Halo 4, and FIFA 13 on the Christmas sales charts.
The splurge constitutes the Ubisoft’s highest ad spending ever, reaffirming the goals drawn out in March by Tony Key, senior VP of sales and marketing at Ubisoft: “The production value of the game, combined with the biggest marketing commitment we’ve ever made, will make Assassins Creed III the highest-selling Assassin’s Creed game ever,” he said back when Assassin’s Creed III pre-order sales were already eclipsing franchise records.
But what does £4 million ($6, 452, 800 in USD) buy? According to MCV, a massive outdoor setup for the game has taken over Earl’s Court Station in advance of this week’s Eurogamer Expo. Come October and November, an aggressive TV spot campaign will begin targeting males in the coveted 18-34 age demographic, with additional placement in video-on-demand commercials. Finally, things will come to a head on October 31, AC III’s EU launch date, when the game’s ads will stage online takeovers and its billboards will inundate the London Underground transit system.
It’s an approach we’ll likely see in North America, too. Ubisoft is already airing the “Coming Home” trailer above during all hours of primetime TV, and there’s no shortage of dense urban population centers in which to roll out billboards, building banners, and even live publicity stunts (don’t say we didn’t warn you if someone starts dumping Bigelow into Boston Harbor, or if Paul Revere is spotted riding through Times Square).
And while it might be staggering at times to see such budgets created for advertising – Battlefield 3‘s total marketing expenses, for another example, were estimated at around $50 million last July – the exposure has been central to gaming’s emergence as a leading entertainment medium over the last decade. Assassin’s Creed, by now, is one of many gaming names at the forefront of popular culture. With AC III’s American Revolution setting speaking to so many of our national identities – in America and around the world – who’s to blame Ubisoft for reaching everyone they can?
Ranters, how do you like the way Ubisoft is marketing Assassin’s Creed III? Where do you triple-A advertising campaigns headed in the future?
Assassin’s Creed III releases on October 30th for PS3 and Xbox 360, November 20th for PC, and November 18th for Wii U.
Follow me on Twitter @Brian_Sipple.