EA Sports is hitting the streets to talk up its new soccer title, "FIFA Soccer 10." To promote the second-biggest of its sports franchises after Madden, the company is embarking on a national tour with two tricked-out vans to allow people to get their hands on the game.
"The idea is to get people to actually play the game," says Darren Lachtman, director of business development at experiential marketing agency rEvolution, which is running the tour. "They want people to see the high level of game content and what a great game it is."
The tour includes scheduled stops in cities along the West and East coasts. However, the vans are able to showcase the game at any stop the crew deems worthy, via a "renegade window" that pulls down to reveal a 32-inch television screen, on which people can play the game.
"If they see a place where kids are interested, they'll stop and play," Lachtman tells Marketing Daily. "If they're at a gas station and they see there's 25 people interested, they'll set up there."
At the scheduled stops -- which will include the parking lots of retail partners and at soccer events in the cities -- the vans will employ 13 TVs, along with Sony PS3 systems. At the stops, the crew will give fans the opportunity to play the FIFA Soccer 10 games, as well as award prizes from EA Sports and Sony (which has partnered with EA for the tour).
In addition, EA has set up live Twitter feeds, Facebook fan page updates and updates at Playstation.com to distribute tour information and build game awareness.
Despite the vast library of sports games, EA has not done many experiential tours like this one, Lachtman says. But a smaller-scale tour in Europe helped boost sales for the title there, prompting a similar idea for the United States, Lachtman says.
Soccer does not get as much mainstream media support in the United States as other sports such as football, baseball and basketball. But it's growing in popularity and is a ripe target for grassroots marketing, he says. "There's been a ton of buzz. You pull up to these soccer fields and there's masses of kids who want to play the game. It's almost like a cult following."