Behind The Work


Senior Writer and Editor
Patricia Murphy joined Havas Group in October 2019 as a Senior Editor and Writer. She has a background in digital journalism and content creation.

“The Vault” aimed to raise the profile of the Epic Games Store (a relatively new facet of the company), drive user acquisition, and challenge the market leader Steam by offering its audience four free games throughout its month-long run.

The fully digital campaign utilised social, Youtube, Imgur, Twitch and Reddit, to attract 61 million monthly active users and double awareness of the Epic Games Store in the US.

Here, Jason Pope, SVP Biddable Media at Havas Media Group, talks about the successful global campaign which garnered enough traffic to crash the Epic Games Store and bring the marketplace closer to its main competitor.

How did this collaboration between Battery and Havas Media come about?

Epic approached Battery about handling creative for the Epic Games Store and they brought us in to handle media. Most people know Epic Games for their game development business where they create games like Fortnite but they also have the Epic Games Store. The Epic Games Store is a digital retail marketplace for PC games, where consumers can log onto the site and digitally download an array of different PC games. It had only been around for about a year when we began working with them. Their business challenge was that they were quite new to the space and their main competitor, Steam, had been around for 15 years or so and dominated in terms of market share.  The strategy was to go big and give away four AAA game titles over four weeks and support it with media in 20 markets across the globe.

Who was this campaign’s audience and what was the strategy?

Covid changed this campaign a little bit for us. Initially we were going to do a much more holistic, cross-channel campaign including TV and out-of-home. We were talking about buying billboards in Times Square and doing a big partnership with the NBA. When Covid hit, we shifted gears and went fully digital, which I think was a smart move. It allowed us to zero in on the target a lot more. There were a few main concerns. One was that Steam had all this market share and secondly, Xbox and PlayStation were coming out with their new consoles in December 2020. Epic Games wanted to get ahead and drive as many new users as possible while stealing share from Steam. For the most part, our target was quite tight. PC gamers tend to be hard-core gamers, so we tried to be thoughtful about not going after folks who were super casual mobile gamers.

This campaign utilised Reddit. How did that impact the campaign?

We used Reddit twofold. One, as a social media platform partner because the audience is there. But the campaign also got a lot of attention through the subReddit r/fuckepic. Epic Games’ existence within the PC games store space is a little bit controversial within the community. The reason for that is that Steam has been around forever and people like the platform and use Steam’s launcher to play the games. When Epic came in, there was suddenly another platform and another game launcher and it complicates the space. Some people love it, some people just use Epic, some people use both, some only use Steam. What we did with this campaign was embrace Epic Games’ haters. We did custom creative, poking fun at ourselves in an attempt to win them over. It worked really well, and we got a lot of great feedback, including members of the subreddit commenting on how clever the campaign was.

Did the reach of this campaign exceed your expectations?

It was hard to set a lot of benchmarks on this campaign because Epic had never done anything like this before and had never run media at this scale. This was a massive multimillion-dollar global initiative. We worked with the client to try and sketch out some projections. We really wanted to understand how much incremental traffic and interest the media drove on top of what it achieved organically. Because they were giving away four free games, we knew it would drive a lot of organic momentum. We had to prove that the media drove incrementally on top of what was happening organically, and the analytics team did a nice job proving this out by looking at similar markets where media wasn’t running as a control group vs the test group of where media was running.

This campaign was a collaborative effort between Havas Media and Battery. Do you think that made it stronger?

For me personally, this project was the most collaborative thing I’ve ever done here. On the one hand, we worked with Battery as our creative partner (the Reddit idea is a really great example of collaboration between Creative and Media), but because this was a global initiative running in 20 markets, we also set up a series of hubs within Havas. The Chicago office acted as the global lead and we worked with our partners in London (to handle EMEA) and Miami (to handle LATAM) to ensure flawless execution across the globe. The hubs in London and Miami, as well as the teams in Canada, Japan and Australia were all amazing to work with and we really could not have done it without them.

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