HAVAS PLAY, Paris / CANAL / 2022

CampaignCampaign(opens in a new tab)
Presentation Image
Case Film




Why is this work relevant for Media?

This work highlights the possibilities brought by crossing real & virtual media campaigns. Metaverse are virtual worlds that work as an extension of our reality or of our imagination. GTA Online can be seen as a metaverse that mimics the real world, especially the RolePlay mode, the most popular on Twitch. This virtual environment is the perfect place to create, tell and share stories in a credible way without having to deal with limitations.

In our case, it was also the best way to strengthen our real-life campaign by giving life to its narrative.


Validé is the first French series about Rap. Created by Franck Gastambide, the first season was released in 2020 on Canal+. It was important for Franck and all the Validé crew that the depiction of the rap industry was relevant and that the rap industry itself appreciates (“valide” in French) it. This objective was achieved and the series made one of the best scores ever on Canal+ reaching a huge success.

To announce the release of the second season of Validé, we teamed up with Canal+ to build a first-of-its-kind media campaign. After the amazing success of the first season and the death of its main character, Validé had to once again convince. The idea was simple, to build a campaign that advertises the show and embodies the atmosphere of the series by getting as much street cred as ever.

Describe the creative idea / insights

Billboards, and street displays in general, are part of rap culture. The “real-life” campaign plan was to display huge billboards of the Validé series in Paris and Marseille, the two cities where the show takes place. Even if there also are the biggest birthplaces of French Rap, that wasn’t enough to really embody the street cred at the core of Validé.

There is only one city that owns this street DNA that fits perfectly with rap music, The City of Los Santos in GTA V.

Even 9 years after its release, GTA V is still very strong across the world, it’s part of pop culture. On Twitch, GTA RolePlay category is #3 among the most viewed categories. But most of all, GTA offers a playground to create, tell and share stories. So,Canal+ and Validé decided to be the first to use GTA V as a relevant media to upscale

Describe the strategy

In 2020, among the 19 000 most listened French rap songs, hundreds made references to video games. The two most referenced games were Pokemon, where many rappers spent time during their young years, and GTA, with more than 80 references from rappers like Booba, Jul, or Nekfeu. If GTA is so present it’s because the game saga has been revolutionary in open-world history and incarnates the feeling of liberty and opportunities, dear to rappers. And not only rappers according to the amazing performances GTA V still has today. Moreover, according to Twitch, 70% of its audience has a strong interest in music. So if we add to the GTA identity the opportunity Online RolePlay offers to create and share experience and the strong interest the audience has for music and video games, Los Santos was, therefore, the best environment we could go on.

Describe the execution

First, we had to recreate the billboard in the GTA style. This step was the longest because we wanted it to be the same as the real one, and it meant to modelized 10 actors.

Then we had to find the perfect spot in the streets of Los Santos to display it. We had to think about two things while picking it: it had to be on a great spot, in the hype district, somewhere you dream to display your success, and it had to be on the path of players. In our case, we picked the equivalent of Sunset Blvd in Los Santos, next to the bank where every player needs to go frequently.

We then worked with a famous GTA streamer, Prince, and its character Tonton, a rap manager, to create the story behind this billboard and to share it with its audience before he revealed the billboard.

List the results

Every media campaign has a story. And every story can be quality content if nicely brought. To bring this story we played by the rules, teaming up with an already existing GTA character, Tonton, who was appointed by Validé’s director to handle the series’ media campaign in Los Santos. What we did was to bring that story to the video game and use the parallel between the virtual and digital world. RolePlay 101 in GTA implies you stay connected with reality, so inviting real ad campaigns in this universe not only enhances our media campaign by embodying the street cred of the show but also helps the RolePlay server to enrich its credibility.

The campaign achieved its mains goals: offering the best “street-cred” environment while generating 800k+ impressions.

The overall campaign generated more than 25M PR reach overall.

Season 2 of Validé was the best launch for Canal ever.

Please tell us about the social behaviour that inspired the work

GTA is a huge online playground where players can create their characters and write its story. You can choose between 15+ jobs or create your own and from so on, achieve your destiny, if you succeed… It’s a dream playground for any streamers who want to tell a story, the reason why the game is #3 on Twitch.

We believe it can also be the best environment for a brand to tell a story.

RolePlay 101 in GTA implies you stay connected with reality. By inviting real ad campaigns in this universe, we enhanced our campaign by embodying the street cred of the show but also helped the RolePlay server to enrich its credibility.

Finally, during the 3-hours quest, Tonton randomly met strange cops who weren’t planned and spent time with them. Metaverse can be quite unpredictable but it showed a campaign can become a true part of its narrative

More Entries from Social Behaviour in Media

24 items

Grand Prix

Use of Ambient Media: Large Scale



(opens in a new tab)

More Entries from HAVAS PLAY

24 items


Breakthrough on a Budget



(opens in a new tab)