EA To Target Teen Girls With Sims Online Campaign

For the first time in company history, leading video game publisher Electronic Arts will target female teens with advertising when it launches its groundbreaking PC entertainment experience, The Sims Online,” in the coming weeks. Company spokesperson Trudy Muller says, “The Sims audience is about 50% female, which is unprecedented for a game with that kind of success. So some of the ads will pop up where females will be looking.”

Print ads for The Sims Online are set to run in Teen People and Cosmo-Girl, while the TV campaign will include teen-women skewed programming on the WB, UPN, ABC as well as MTV. The Sims Online has already benefited from a publicity blitz that included a recent cover story in Newsweek and the company has already racked up 20 million in global sales of earlier versions of The Sims and its expansion packs.

TV advertising for games that can be played on consoles like the Sony PlayStation2, Microsoft Xbox and Nintendo GameCube are hard to miss these days. But on-air ads for PC games are rarer simply because the market for computer entertainment titles is so much smaller—somewhere around $2 billion annually in North America compared with an estimated $5 billion-$6 billion for console software.



Muller suggests that with interactive games now firmly entrenched in the mainstream, publishers are growing increasingly confident about using advertising to rise above the hype—regardless of the platform the game can be played on. “The market is so big right now that it supports larger marketing budgets across the board. I don’t think in the future you’ll see any less in terms of advertising, whether its print, online or TV.”

The video game industry has spent the past few years touting the broadening demographics for games, including a report by the Interactive Digital Software Association (IDSA) that notes 43% of gamers are women and that 90% of games are played by people aged 18 and above.

But despite the inclusion of teen females in The Sims Online campaign, Muller says, “That 12-24 {male} is still the sweet spot so you’ll see the bulk of the advertising dollars on shows that target them. It’s hard to watch MTV or VH1 without every other spot being a video game and you see it in your sports broadcasting as well.”

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