Cannes Lions


HEAT, San Francisco / EA GAMES / 2012






Madden NFL holds the crown as the most popular sports video game played in person, between friends. In terms of head-to-head competition, no other game can touch it. Which means no other game creates rivalries, or trash talk, among teen and adult males like Madden does. To hype the release of Madden NFL 12, we not only encouraged them to rekindle their rivalries: we gave them the tools to do so.Our ads depicted the emotional roller coaster of playing a game of Madden NFL against your biggest rival. And since trash talking is a huge part of this, we tapped into the functionality of Facebook to create the Smack Shack app, where wall posts served as smack talk. Altered 'check ins' and videos of NFL pros talking smack were just a couple of the tools gamers used to mess with their rivals.


Our media approach focused on the core Madden NFL consumer and gradually expanded to a broader male 12-34 audience. We kicked off our campaign with the in-console demo release across multiple media platforms to drive trial and pre-orders. Upon game release, media was in full swing with TV and digital reaching their peak in week one, which is the most fertile sales opportunity. Our TV ads focused on male lifestyle-targeted networks and programming, and our digital display/video strategy mirrored TV to build impact.Each media channel was selected to connect to inspire consumers to reheat rivalries and get the game.


We reached business, attitudinal, and behavioural goals. Pre-orders were up 16%, and week one sales were up 10% year-over-year. (Source:NPD). In our pre-post campaign study, total agreement with the statement 'Madden NFL is the best head-to-head gaming experience' increased 8% after our campaign. Agreement with the statement 'Madden NFL understands my desire to compete and win' increased 5%. (Source:Company research). 3 weeks after the Smack Shack debuted, 135,346 people had used the application, and 50,957 smacks were shared. This in turn led to 1,774,406 content impressions in people’s newsfeeds, and 12,890,482 impressions via Facebook Sponsored Stories. The smack talk videos were viewed 457,213 times within the app and 345,197 times on YouTube. 4,932 people clicked through to see the game trailer or go to EA’s online store. Organic daily Like lift increased 37% while media support for the app was live, suggesting that people were engaged with the content. (Source:Facebook).

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