For the July 3rd launch of the massively multiplayer online game The Secret World by Funcom, Montreal agency Human Equation led a viral campaign based on the theme of secret societies, generating more than 2.7 million in visibility on the web. The marketing offensive was deployed from May 22 to June 29, 2012 in five different languages and reached over 80 countries.
With a series of puzzles, enigmatic videos and fictitious websites all aimed at finding a mystical weapon, Human Equation kept budding investigators in suspense while revealing clues leading to the final solution and an array of various prizes related to The Secret World. To push the concept further, the agency used real places such as Alcatraz Island, Amsterdam and a cemetery in Providence to help gamers to progress in their quests.
Through text messages, phone calls, emails and forums, players exchanged with fictional characters and took actions that directly changed the story inspired by the themes of The Secret World.
With its intriguing mix of real-world facts and esoteric references, the alternate reality game received extensive coverage in the top media channels within the video game industry. The game also provoked thousands of conversations on forums and social media sites, in addition to being followed by more than 300 web sites.
“It’s the first time in 10 years that we received hundreds of thank-you letters for an advertising campaign!” says Andrea Doyon, founder of the Human Equation. “The reaction from both our client and the community makes us even more proud to have produced this international project in Montreal, one of the most innovative and creative cities in the world.”
“Despite tight deadlines and the sheer magnitude of the task at hand, the team from Quebec demonstrated originality and a remarkable efficiency,” says Erling Ellingsen, Communications Director at Funcom Oslo.