EA Sports focuses on casual gamers with its latest brand

SAN FRANCISCO: EA Sports launched a new global sub-brand to strengthen its appeal among casual video-game users.

SAN FRANCISCO: EA Sports launched a new global sub-brand to strengthen its appeal among casual video-game users.

The new brand, EA Sports Freestyle, was revealed at the company's "Sports Season Opener" media event on May 6. Fleishman-Hillard assisted on the initiative.

"If EA Sports has been about competition, realism, and authenticity, Freestyle will be a line of games based in sports, but will be easier to pick up and play," said David Tinson, director of worldwide PR at the company. "They're inclusive; it's the lighter side of sports."

To appeal to a broader market, EA Sports will increase its pitches to lifestyle, business, and entertainment media. The outreach strategy is to boost media coverage beyond product launches, and develop thought-leadership pieces, general gaming stories, and executive profiles for outlets like The Wall Street Journal and CNBC.

Additional PR tactics include plans to spotlight Peter Moore, president of EA Sports, through his recently-launched blog, http://itsinthegame.ea.com/, as well as speaking engagements.

EA Sports opted to launch the new brand after internal research showed that 45% of its users were interested in a more casual gaming experience, like a game that could be played from a mobile device or doesn't require a long time commitment.

Along with its core users of 18- to 34-year-old males, the new brand will target audiences that were not previously considered video-game enthusiasts, Tinson noted. The first game under the Freestyle brand, Facebreaker, is positioned as a comedic arcade boxing game.

"[Freestyle] is less about the hardcore competition and more about having fun," he added. "We're looking at someone who wants to play games, but has felt too intimidated to play our games in the past."

Fleishman won the EA Sports business in January. SparkPR was the company's previous AOR.

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