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 worked with EA Sports on the initiative.
“If EA Sports has been about competition, realism, and authenticity,” said David Tinson, director of worldwide PR for EA Sports, “Freestyle will be a line of games that is based in sports but will be easier to pick up and play. They are inclusive; it's the lighter side of sports.”
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. In addition to its core users of males from 18 to 34 years old, 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.
“[EA Sports Freestyle] is less about the hardcore competition and more about having fun,” Tinson added. “We're looking at someone who wants to play games but have felt too intimidated to play our games in the past.”
To appeal to a broader market, the company will increase its pitches to lifestyle, business, and entertainment media. The outreach strategy is to increase 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.
Additionally, PR tactics include plans to spotlight Peter Moore, president of EA Sports, through his recently-launched blog, http://itsinthegame.ea.com/, and speaking engagements.
Fleishman-Hillard won the EA Sports business in January. SparkPR was the company's previous AOR.