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Ubisoft: TV advertising is still important to us

Assassin's Creed publisher happy with results from mainstream marketing, says Pannel

Ubisoft's UK marketing director, Murray Pannel, has told GamesIndustry.biz that the company will continue to make use of television advertising as a marketing channel, and that while it's an expensive option, it can be extremely effective at harnessing brand awareness "quickly and broadly".

That follows revelations from fellow publishers EA and THQ that they planned to cut TV ad spend to focus instead on social networks or other online targeting, citing a better value for money.

But Pannel - while agreeing that television isn't necessarily suitable for all games - was keen to point out the strengths of the medium, despite a rise in prices as the effects of the recession begin to subside.

"I imagine the reason [EA and THQ are] doing that is because TV is so very, very expensive - and to some extent as a marketeer you have to watch your costs," he explained. "Does a big TV advertising campaign work for every product? Probably not, but for the big ones I certainly believe that nothing else will give you the broad reach - and speed of reach - that TV will deliver.

"We were very lucky this time last year I suppose when TV audiences were growing, but the actual cost of TV advertising was going down. Due to recessionary forces, TV became relatively cheap compared to other media to buy.

"That's slightly reversing now into 2010 as costs go up, but I still think there's an opportunity on TV to get brand awareness out there as quickly and broadly as you possibly can. I'm not going to be reducing TV budgets necessarily on big titles, but I am certainly looking at costs and efficiencies.

"Digital can help bring both of those, because to some extent you can measure exactly what's going on. That said, I'd certainly not move all of my money out of TV and into digital - because I think you have to look at a campaign objective. What do you need to do with this game? How many people do you need to reach, and how quickly do you need to reach them? How much awareness is there in advance through PR and other media - and how quickly can you activate through retail?

"So to just say we're not doing TV any more, for Ubisoft, is probably the wrong thing to do. You balance your marketing campaign according to the objectives you've got there, and somettimes digital is the way to do it, sometimes TV is the way to do it."

The full interview with Murray Pannel is available now.

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