EA Develops Media Group To Develop Gaming Ad Opportunities

by , Jun 26, 2009, 4:37 PM
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The Sims 3 Electronic Arts has set up a media sales organization to offer marketers and advertisers consulting services aimed at video game sponsorships and promotions. The strategy offers cross-platform services, from add-on downloads for PC and console games to mobile and co-branding in retail stores and across the Web.

Support into new distribution channels through EA's Global Media Sales group means assistance to define roadmaps for business objectives and retail sales, advertising, micro-transactions and subscription-based services. As part of the offering, EA has begun developing a research department to provide analytical data to advertisers, according to Elizabeth Harz, EA's SVP of global media sales.

The department and required resources took six months to pull together, both internally and externally, Harz says. "I'm trying to create standards and dashboards for analytics and research that will scale across the industry," she says. "With all the partnerships we have at EA, we have done more of a one-off approach to share specific metrics. But we are creating standard measurements and analytics by working with a group of agencies and the IAB to develop specific tools."

Elizabeth Harz Harz, who EA plucked from Yahoo to spearhead efforts, says the video game publisher has recently signed a deal with Direct TV to support the National Football League (NFL) across a variety of distribution platforms.

Hudson Square Research Analyst Daniel Ernst says advertising in games remains sparse because it all comes down to finding the products that match the game. "You're not going to promote an iPod in a history game," he says. The context is wrong. EA has cross-licensing issues they need to watch because they produce many games with franchises.

"Advertising in video games, not just for EA, has been a bit like throwing spaghetti against the wall," Ernst says. "I think what EA is doing makes perfect sense."

The NFL represents just one of many deals that EA hopes will cut across platforms now that the new structure has been put into action. Think McDonald's, Progressive Insurance, Country Crock, Toyota, and Dr. Pepper.

EA and Dr Pepper on Thursday announced a multimillion-dollar marketing agreement that brings original content to consumers through a portfolio of games. Codes found on more than 500 million Dr Pepper products will give gaming fans access to exclusive premium content on select EA titles throughout 2010.

The Sims 3 is the first title to participate in this campaign beginning early next year. Codes from specially marked Dr Pepper packages will unlock exclusive premium downloadable content that could include one-of-a-kind beach party items or all the elements of a perfect tailgate party.

Relationships with retailers that both Dr Pepper and EA have give the duo an opportunity to execute wide-scale promotions in stores, too.

Spoken like a true marketer, Harz's efforts will focus on Global Media Sales, setting up a "best in class media sales organization similar to those you encounter at premiere media brands, such as Google and ESPN," which includes marketing, operations, research and sales.

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