EA Invents New Holiday for Madden Release

Each year Electronic Arts takes “truths” gleaned from fans of its Madden franchise to fuel the launch campaign for its new release. This year, the publisher has declared August 22, the release date for Madden NFL 07, a new holiday.

“We picked up on a consumer truth that people really do treat the Madden launch day as a holiday,” said Dana Glazer, senior manager of advertising at Electronic Arts. People call in sick, create fake jury summons and some break up with their girlfriends to free their schedule on launch day, Glazer said.

It might not be recognized by the government or employers yet, but for the gaming community, EA’s agencies Weiden & Kennedy and Freestyle Interactive worked jointly to create Maddenoliday, which includes a TV, radio and online campaign. All ads lead to a Maddenoliday microsite, which is separate from the Web site for the game itself. Emphasis will shift from the microsite to the official Madden NFL 07 site by launch.

While the microsite, which serves as a countdown to the game’s release, will run up to and possibly after August 22, the advertising components of the campaign ran from July 28 to August 24. It included radio, TV and Web placements. Online ads ran on sites like ESPN.com, IGN and Gamespot. Freestyle placed the online media buy.

The microsite puts an NFL spin on a Christmas. It allows users to explore a holiday-decorated room with unique elements like football-shaped blinking lights, tube socks stuffed with game controllers and other goodies for stockings. A TV depicting a roaring fire sits in the fireplace, and a Maddvent calendar hangs on the wall.

Every few days more goodies are revealed in the Maddvent calendar. Behind each door is hidden a new feature of the site, including e-cards; Maddenoliday carols; a book telling of traditions of the holiday; recipes; and a snow globe. One features printable coupons for things like the use of the “good” controller, free snacks during gameplay, and the use of particular plays. Other days reveal access to game assets like screenshots and video clips of gameplay with the real players discussing the action.

W&K and Freestyle worked together closely to create an integrated campaign. “Our two agencies are very much strategically aligned, they presented a campaign to us a couple months ago and we ran with it,” Glazer told ClickZ News.

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