2 Minutes. That’s All KB&P Asks From Young Viewers

Betting that a longer-form, music-video-style commercial will better capture the attention of its young audience, game publisher Ubi Soft Entertainment today launches a two-minute spot for its latest title, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time.

The spot, which will run on MTV, is part of a $10 million campaign backing the game from independent shop Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners West in San Francisco. It is the first time a videogame publisher has run a two-minute spot on MTV, said a network rep. A handful of other advertisers have tried long-form spots, including Nike, which created a two-minute version of its “Freestyle” spot that aired on the cable network in 2001.

Sands of Time features a young prince in a war-torn land who unleashes evil upon his father’s kingdom and then tries to restore peace. The ability to control time is the game’s biggest feature and is central to the campaign.

The spot opens with music-video-style credits and then shows DJ Melo-D of the Beat Junkies spinning records. The use of DJ Melo-D, who composed music for the spot, ties the game concept to pop culture, said Tony Kee, client vp of marketing. Kirshenbaum West creative director Noel Cottrell said the DJ’s control over the music is a metaphor for the player’s control over time.

As the DJ freezes, slows and reverses the music, accompanying game footage follows suit. The spot ends with the voiceover, “Control time. Control the world.”

Cottrell said the shop wanted to break away from the videogame ad formula of a 10-second setup followed by 20 seconds of game footage. The goal is for viewers at first to be unsure they are watching an ad. “We wanted to blur the lines [between content and commercials],” Cottrell said.

The effort targets 12- to 24-year-olds, with an emphasis on kids ages 12-17, said Kee. While conventional wisdom suggests the target has a short attention span, Kee said he believes the long-form version of the spot will play well with the MTV audience. “They’ll sit and watch a TV show for 30 minutes,” as well as 3-5-minute music videos, he added.

The spot is expected to run roughly 40 times through Christmas. The effort also includes 15- and 30-second versions of the ad, which are running on MTV, MTV2, VH1, Spike, Comedy Central, Cartoon Network and Fox Sports.