Cannes Lions

Alexios, The Spartan Assistant


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Assassin’s Creed, one of the most popular gaming franchises, was releasing a new title. Ubisoft set two central objectives for promoting the release. First, since the game would be moving away from having an assassin as the protagonist, we needed to capture the imagination of fans by introducing a new Spartan hero and world. Second, because the game was coming out just 11 months after the last release (and during the most saturated time of year for video game releases), our executions had to be innovative enough to stand out for the casual gamer audience.


We partnered with Amazon and created the first-ever branded version of the Echo: Alexios, the Spartan Assistant. It helps around the home and in the game, inviting people to a unique world of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey and bringing some “Spartanness” to their daily lives. We also released an introductory video that soon went viral and sparked memes and created limited-edition Echo hardware, allowing fans to experience the game in a whole new way—long before it was even released.


Using demographic definition tools, we zeroed in on a target audience that skewed male and over-indexed for working in middle management jobs, commuting, and having young children and/or being recently married. We used secondary research to get depth on our audience’s psyche and learned that they, relative to others, were extremely conflict-averse. Knowing these attributes, we hypothesized that our target needed a cathartic way to alleviate stress. This need presented a major opportunity for the game.After reflecting on the differentiating elements of the gameplay and finding a 7th century creed about what being a Spartan meant, our team had a strategic revelation. Since being a Spartan meant having unwavering courage in the face of conflict and a willingness to explore the unknown, our goal would be to find an innovative media tactic to inject “Spartanness” into our target consumers’ lives before, during, and after the game’s launch.


With the total of 900+ programmed responses, Alexios let users engage with a video game in ways they’d never experienced before. We launched the Alexa skill and :30 promotional OLV on September 18, 2018. A day after, we started sending physical Alexios units to influencers. On October 5, when the game was officially released, we introduced version 2.0 with gameplay integration featuring up to 400 POIs. All materials were posted organically on Ubisoft-owned social channels (YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram) and went viral through PR outlets and influencers.


Alexios delivered results that exceeded expectations. With 900+ total programmed responses, including info on the 500 game locations, Alexios let users engage with a video game in ways they’d never experienced before. The introductory video received 4.1 million views without a media spend; the device garnered 95 million earned media impressions, achieved a 5-star rating on Amazon, and became a viral meme. Most important, Alexios assisted in the most successful game launch for the franchise in the current console generation.

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