October 2012 saw the highly anticipated release of XCOM: Enemy Unknown. In this incredible videogame, governments unite to form a secret paramilitary organization, known as XCOM, to combat an extra-terrestrial attack. As the commander of XCOM, you control the global defence team in a battle against the terrifying alien invasion.
Nick Pope, who used to run the British Government's UFO project at the Ministry of Defence, was recruited to front the campaign. Initially a UFO sceptic, Nick’s investigations and access to classified government files on the subject soon convinced him that the phenomenon raised important defence and national security issues, especially when the witnesses were military pilots or UFOs were tracked on radar.
Research specially commissioned to support the campaign, revealing one in ten people have seen a UFO, almost one in five believe extra-terrestrial beings have already landed on earth and that one in fifteen even believe much of the technology we use today has been reverse engineered from alien technology, proved an excellent hook for broadcasters and platform for Nick to share his experience and talk about the game.
Broadcast interviews were secured with BBC and commercial stations across the UK, with an average duration in excess of ten minutes, highlighting the appeal of the subject matter, fascinating guest and interesting research results. Additionally, editorial radio competitions giving away copies of the game provided further timely coverage.
Bespoke interviews and the production of live, interactive webTV programming (from a studio dressed with images of aliens, giving people the chance to share their experiences and ask Nick their questions) and a short form video feature, resulted in high reaching but also niche targeted online coverage. For example including MSN, The Independent, Digital Spy and Express.co.uk, as well as Aliens The Truth and UFO Hunter.
The campaign was extremely successful and ensured awareness of the reimagining of the classic 1994 strategy game was high amongst existing fans of the series, as well as people potentially new to the world of XCOM.