When it launched in 2014, racing video game The Crew differentiated itself from existing games such as Forza Horizon 2 by emphasizing its social aspect: Unlike other racing games, it could be with (or against) friends online as well as alone. To communicate this to its target audience of male game players 18 to 34 years old, The Crew and agency Ubisoft teamed with Comcast, which wanted to emphasize the speed of its Xfinity internet service—an appropriate tie-in for a game based on the need for speed.
Because college students and fans of college football are key segments of the target audience, The Crew sent to trucks to the campuses of colleges involved in 13 of the biggest NCAA football rivalries in the week prior to the big games. The trucks enabled four attendees at a time to try out the game for themselves while connected with the nearby players. Winners received a T-shirt and a chance to compete against players from their school’s rival college, with the winning team on game day walking away with Xbox One consoles. While attendees waited their turn to try The Crew for themselves, they could watch highlights of the game on truck monitors.
Cobranded TV spots for The Crew and Comcast ran during ESPN’s NCAA football coverage and other cable channels, touting the Xfinity Speed Challenge: Players could have their score uploaded on a dedicated website’s leaderboard, and the highest scorers on each game platform (Xbox One, PS4, and PC) would win a year’s worth of gas and games.
More than 7,400 people played The Crew at the campus mobile stations, and the six-week tour generated more than 2.6 million digital and social media impressions. The Xfinity Speed Challenge exceeded the goal for entries by 229%. All told, sales of The Crew during its first month exceeded those for Forza Horizon 2 during its first month by more than 42%, making the campaign a runaway winner.