Who knew gaming could be so influential in the world of advertising? Our class had the pleasure to visit Electronic Arts, the pioneer of the home computer game industry, just down the street from LMU. Our session was lead by Dominique McAree, the Sales Director. Having worked at Electronic Arts for three years, Dominique showed us how EA seeks excellence in media performance for the biggest national and multinational brands. Dominique began the presentation with some kind words about LMU stating how our university leads to the freedom of ideas. I really enjoyed this opening because I do feel lucky to be at such a great school and participate in meaningful conversations with large brands such as EA.
In the world of gaming, positive player experiences drive positive brand results. What I found interesting about Electronic Arts was the way in which they marry a brand with a game. A computer game, unlike a movie, break through distractions and command undivided player attention. During the session, we went around the room and stated what our favorite games were. Unknown to us, every game listed had some sort of brand affiliation weather we realized it or not. We learned that a brand can seamlessly integrate itself into a game. Something that I found particularly interesting was the way in which people obsess over games. This obsession makes them loyal to anything that the game portrays, such as a brand.
Dominique showed us through many examples that a brand can connect to a user in three ways during a gaming experience. The first is through media, which is the publicity that goes into promoting the game. In my opinion, its a win win situation for both the brand and the game. They gain publicity from one another and merge the two interested consumers. The second is in game integration. By creating branded content in the user experience, Electronic Arts can show the consumer that a brand is not only in the game, but can be sought out in the real world too. The third was point of purchase, which I see as similar to media in the sense that when buying a game, the consumer also receives something from the brand in return. All of these ways to connect a brand a game weren’t ones I typically thought of when I think of advertising and gaming.
Overall, I learned a lot from this visit. I had no idea how popular competitive gaming was. These gamers watch live events such as the Fifa world cup and compete for a chance in the spotlight. The gaming industry brings people together in a way that is purely fun. What I found interesting about the gaming industry was that I personally feel that it is a limited market. Not all brands will want to advertise through a game because those are not the consumers they are trying to reach. Because of this though, EA has the opportunity to create unique spots for their brands and create brand affinity through targeted experiences.