Electronic Arts finds a world of fighters for new MMA video game

By T.L. Stanley on Mon Nov 8 2010

If a marketer doesn't have the coveted and lucrative UFC license for a video game, what's the best way to draw attention to a new title? Go global. That's the approach, anyway, taken by EA Sports and its agency, Heat in San Francisco. Using bits of judo from Japan, jiu-jitsu from Brazil, Muay Thai kickboxing from Thailand and boxing from the U.S., the game maker will try to draw grappling fans to the generic-sounding EA Sports MMA. (Mixed martial arts is a mashup of all those fighting styles.) The campaign launches in two weeks with TV and online in Europe and the U.S. on channels like ESPN, Spike and TNT. There's also branded entertainment called "The Sherdog MMA Fighter Exchange," which pits four young fighters in bouts that will stream online; fans can also watch behind-the-scenes action and international training via a partnership between EA Sports, Web site Sherdog.com and the Strikeforce fighting league.

In-game advertising boosts real-world sales, according to study

By David Kiefaber on Mon Sep 20 2010

Hockey

Nielsen recently looked into the effectiveness of ads inside video games and found—whaddya know?—that they actually work. The study, commissioned by Electronic Arts on behalf of Gatorade, showed that in-game advertising across various EA titles increased household dollars spent on Gatorade by 24 percent. EA's svp of global media sales hails the project as "a milestone for interactive entertainment," adding that "brands can feel confident in adding gaming as a core media channel for their advertising." And it is a milestone. This is really the first time anyone has put the effect of video game advertising into practical terms. Whether or not it will signal a glut of advertisers to swarm in and make mainstream video games completely unplayable has yet to be determined, but initial positive results are certainly good news for any brand looking to expand into this virgin territory (pun intended). On the other hand, Gatorade already has good market presence based on decades of successful marketing, so using them as a measuring stick was almost too safe a choice. The real test, in my view, will be if a lesser-known or developing brand sees big jumps in sales after putting its logo in a video game.

'Sims' lets you realize your most disgraceful, degrading fantasies

Posted on Tue Jun 22 2010

Years of reality TV may lessen the impact of these purported "testimonials" promoting the console version of Electronic Arts's hit video game The Sims, but it's still a clever idea. A muscular guy, a young woman who seems like she's trying to be Sarah Silverman, and a nun, among others, confess their various peccadilloes—cheating on a boyfriend, walking around naked in public, trying to get the butler and the maid to make out. Before long, you realize they are talking about stuff they do in The Sims. Thank God. Second Life is still safe then, I guess.

—Posted by Todd Wasserman

EA's 'Skate 3' commercial cries out for cameo by William Wallace

Posted on Wed May 12 2010

EA Games has gone tribal in an ad campaign for Skate 3, its new Xbox and PlayStation game that's only tangentially like Braveheart. But equating the two makes for a spiffy commercial, where competitive skateboarding comes close to clan warfare. Hey, is that a horse on a halfpipe? The campaign, from Heat in San Francisco, is aimed at young male gamers who are apt to be more interested in the action-sports title if they see its team play in action, the agency said. The bull's-eye target, skaters, might like the medieval theme (especially the slow-mo mass charge across the "battlefield" at the end). The ad aired as part of a one-day takeover Tuesday on gaming sites like IGN and GameSpot. TV breaks this month on cable networks like MTV, Comedy Central, G4, Adult Swim and Spike.

—Posted by T.L. Stanley

EA Sports, Tiger Woods take a beating in 'South Park' premiere

Posted on Thu Mar 18 2010

Hard to settle on just one favorite moment from last night's South Park season premiere, with its "preview" of the new EA Sports video game Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2011. But it might be this: Kenny schools Cartman as Elin slices Tiger with a 7-iron in a game that looks less like a PGA tourney and more like Mortal Kombat. "Oh man, I just lost another endorsement," Cartman says. "How'd you do that?" Kenny's a sly little devil who apparently knows a thing or two about brand retreat in the face of controversy. He's also a really good Xbox 360 player, so he figured out a way to administer a beat down while hitting Tiger where it really hurts—in the pocketbook. Shades of real life! The fourth graders of South Park marveled at the violent video game, with Cartman saying, "EA Sports really outdid itself this time," and Stan deciding golf wasn't so boring after all if there's fighting and F-bombs. The Comedy Central show, an equal-opportunity offender and still the network's highest-rated show, makes fun of sex addiction, the CDC, David Letterman and Swedish accents here. So, EA Sports wasn't alone in having its name raked over the coals. Wonder if they're laughing?

—Posted by T.L. Stanley

People don't Digg garish online ads, they Digg sneering at them

Posted on Tue Nov 10 2009

Dragon-age

It's a cautionary tale for marketers: You live by the Digg, you die by the Digg. It all started when the news-aggregation site launched a page-takeover ad for Dragon Age: Origins, a role-playing video game developed by BioWare and published by Electronic Arts. But things turned sour when a Digg user named  Borez put up a visual of the ad with the headline, "Who on Digg hates this?" As of this morning, more than 9,500 people have Dugg the post, meaning that yes, Electronic Arts, they hate you, they really hate you. If the company has any doubts, it should check out the page of comments, one of which includes a helpful link to remove the hated ad. Another, however, notes that any publicity is good publicity, and "I bet they are going to put that image in the background when this story hits the front page."

—Posted by Todd Wasserman

Apologize to the ladyfolk, because here comes 'Madden NFL 10'

Posted on Tue Aug 11 2009

EA Sports' Madden franchise is an instigator and an overall bad influence. For 10 years, the pre-eminent football videogame has caused fans irreparable harm. Hours have been lost trying to perfect the onside kick. Large chunks of the valuable brain space have been clogged up with blitz packages and trick plays. Egos have been bruised and confidence destroyed by close friends who have danced around the room after breaking off 62-yard game-winning runs. In past years, when the latest version of the game was released, the franchise has encouraged people to cut class, miss work and take a "Maddenoliday" to try it out. This year is no different, and EA has even gotten Wal-Mart mixed up with its bad behavior. The mass retailer has promised to roll back prices on flowers when Madden NFL 10 hits shelves on Friday, so men can apologize to their wives and spouses in advance for the week they are about to spend obsessing over the nuances of the new game. For anyone who hasn't gotten the "You only give me flowers when you've done something wrong" speech, get ready for it. And she'll be right, as you proceed to play a videogame non-stop until your eyes bleed. Damn you, Madden NFL 10.

—Posted by Kenneth Hein

EA makes ballsy move into real-world sporting goods

Posted on Fri Feb 20 2009

Sporting_equipment_tbi While many of Electronic Arts' best-selling videogames are based on sports, the company has apparently had a brainstorm: What if we were to offer a real-world, 3-D version of our games? Wouldn't that be rad? Well, yeah, if you consider things like balls to be cutting edge. EA, which announced a deal with a company called Toy Island, this week to make the new products, promises it will "bring the excitement of video game simulation outside onto the fields of play" with items like a "a line of sports toys that will utilize electronics to reward young athletes with cheers when they use proper techniques." So, like a ball with a little electronic coach or something inside? I know EA is probably thinking this will be like Wii that you can play outside, but it sounds like something that will crap out the first time you give it a hard kick. Kudos to Wired, which speculates that the next logical step will be "Rock Band-themed musical instruments, so plastic guitar masters can get one step closer to learning the real thing.”  

—Posted by Todd Wasserman


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