Video game publisher Electronic Arts hired Dave Madden to head up its global media sales efforts. Madden joins the company from casual gaming site WildTangent, replacing Elizabeth Harz who held the post until earlier this year.
Speaking with ClickZ this week, Madden said EA plans to focus its attention on providing brands with cross-platform solutions, spanning its range of social, mobile, online, and console properties and gaming franchises. “Today the concept in-game advertising is much more about a range of platforms,” he said, referencing properties such as its casual gaming site Playfish and its range of mobile games.
The company is working on a system that will allow advertisers to dynamically place advertiser content across multiple devices and touch points, which it plans to sell to advertisers on a package basis. “My intent is to simplify the process for advertisers to place ads across multiple platforms, and then give them measurable results to benchmark across different media,” Madden said.
It’s not just about display ads, though, and Madden described his belief in the importance of a value exchange between consumers and brands within gaming environments. For example, consumers react best to brands that enhance their in-game experience, or aid their progress, he said.
One example of such integration was a recent Toyota Prius campaign conducted with Playfish’s Monopoly Millionaires title, which lives on the Facebook platform. Users were given the opportunity to earn an “eco-house” which provided them with advantages in the game, and encouraged them to share the content with their friends.
“Consumers understand that they’re getting something in return, and their attention is more focused. That value exchange will create implicit value for brands,” Madden said. Monopoly Millionnaires currently reaches a monthly average of 6.3 million users, according to EA.
Beyond Facebook and the web, EA also plans to implement similar integrations across mobile and console games, and to create consistent ad experiences across those platforms. “To some extent advertising dollars follow eyeballs. Gaming is the number one activity on Facebook, on the iPad, on the iPhone. It’s inevitable that brands will want to reach people during those experiences, and the time is right to focus on getting a great platform in place to make that easy,” Madden said.
The console space is also becoming more sophisticated in terms of marketing content, Madden implied, with an increasing number of titles utilizing tools such as Facebook and Twitter from within the games themselves. EA brings in a range of major brand integrations for its console games, especially sports franchises such as its NFL and soccer-related titles.
In addition it will continue to offer dynamic in-game ads, which Madden said there is still “strong demand” for. Last year the company brought its in-game ad sales in-house, ending a relationship with Microsoft-owned network Massive.
According to Madden, EA now has “one of the largest, if not the largest” in-game media sales forces in the world. The majority of that staff is based in North America and London, he said, but continues to expand on a global basis. He declined to identify the number of employees on the sales team.