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Electronic Arts, Chevy integrate game, Facebook for sweepstakes

Gaming company Electronic Arts (EA) and automotive brand Chevrolet tied a Facebook sweepstakes to the August 9 demo release of EA’s “Madden NFL 12” video game. EA worked with integrated agency Goodby, Silverstein & Partners on the initiative.

Consumers who download the game demo to their Microsoft Xbox or Sony PlayStation consoles can receive a code to enter a sweepstakes on the game’s Facebook page after they run a specific play. The winning consumer will receive a 2012 Chevy Cruze sedan. The sweepstakes will run until September 30.

“[Game demos are] an extraordinary marketing opportunity for EA and all video game companies that I think is pretty overlooked. You’ve got gamers downloading a trial version of your product to determine whether or not to buy it,” said Bill Young, managing director of EA Ready, the group that created the EA Signal ad product. “So I wanted to find a way to allow brands to communicate to the consumer while they’re in this purchase-consideration mindset.”

EA is promoting the sweepstakes with a video featuring a gamer and Miami Dolphins running back Reggie Bush discussing when a quarterback should call an audible to change an offensive play at the line of scrimmage. The pair then instructs the consumer on how to call an audible while playing the game, mentioning that anyone who calls an audible and scores a touchdown on the resulting play has a chance to win a Chevy Cruze.

The Madden Facebook page’s fanbase grew by 10% within two days of launching the free demo, said Young.  

Chevrolet, a General Motors Corp. brand, did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

Within an hour of EA hinting at the sweepstakes in a post on the game’s Facebook page on August 9, consumers began commenting with the entry code. Consumers needed to enter the code into an app that went live later that day to enter the contest.

Asked why EA used only a single code to allow consumers to enter without downloading or playing the game, Young said there were technical and marketing hurdles to delivering unique codes triggered by the in-game fulfillment, therefore limiting the number of eligible participants.

EA is collecting interaction metrics, such as how many consumers received the code via the game, how many watched the corresponding video, and how many entered the sweepstakes, said Young. He said the company will share the data with Chevy.

Young said EA is in talks about running similar initiatives with free demos of other game titles, but has no firm plans in place.  

The company is also looking to extend the tactic to its mobile and social games.

“I think there’s actually more opportunity for advertisers on the social and mobile fronts than the console,” said Young.

One possible initiative, he said, would be for an auto brand to implement a mobile device’s location-based services, but have consumers check in at a set number of car dealerships in exchange for exclusive game content. Young said EA has had “a few conversations with auto partners” about such an initiative.

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