Microsoft creates zombie apocalypse to promote new Xbox

Events running Canada-wide prime gamer market for new console

A zombie apocalypse descended on Vancouver Thursday night just in time for Halloween.

The stunt, part of Microsoft Canada‘s campaign for its new Xbox One system, saw 100 actors dressed as zombies burst out of a 12-metre-long replica of the gaming console.

The zombies then “battled” consumers who were given mock chainsaws and hammers, coming together as a real life recreation of the upcoming Xbox game Dead Rising 3.

Once all the zombies were defeated, consumers were invited into the giant Xbox to test the new system, take photos and have their faces painted with professional special effects zombie makeup.

The company revealed no information about what would happen when Vancouver’s “colossal” Xbox appeared ominously at sunrise Wednesday at the high-traffic corner of Nelson St. and Seymour St. To begin the activation, a predetermined number of Xbox gamers had to  “pledge” their gamertags – a social action similar to “liking” on Facebook.

The activation was one of a series Microsoft Canada has planned in major Canadian cities in the coming weeks leading up the console’s launch on Nov. 22.

Microsoft Canada Xbox brand manager Nicole Fawcette explained the brand decided to launch the campaign around Halloween in Vancouver, as the Vancouver office of Capcom developed Dead Rising 3 as an Xbox exclusive.

The stunt was a collaboration between Microsoft Canada and its agencies, including Mosaic, TraffikGroup, Wunderman and Digital Production Services. PR was handled by Veritas and the media buy was handled by Starcom Media Vest Group.

A full media campaign will also support the launch, including billboards near the locations of the activations across the country, digital display ads and a U.S. created TV spot by CP+B that is currently in market in Canada.

The Canadian campaign also includes a contest element in each city, starting with awarding one consumer a trip to Toronto for the Xbox One launch party, expected just before the console’s release to stores.

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