Company: EA SPORTS

Agencies:  Heat, San Francisco; Grow; Google Art, Copy & Code

Market(s): North America

Timing: August 2014 – February 2015

In a bid to regain Madden NFL’s dominance, the GIFERATOR captivated NFL fans by integrating footage from games with real-time social media engagement.

BACKGROUND

Although one of the most successful gaming franchises of all time, Madden NFL was fighting a popularity battle in its 26th year against a new breed of globally beloved games. To regain pop culture relevance all season long, EA SPORTS entrusted its creative agency Heat to think and act like their target audience. What wins on the field as well as on the sofa? Quick, witty trash talk.

THE IDEA

Created and built via a partnership between EA, Heat, Google Art Copy & Code and Grow, the GIFERATOR (GIF generator) was loaded with thousands of headlines and player animations for every team, and scanned live NFL data and fired out GIF highlights to social feeds and media space within seconds of the big plays.

THE PROCESS

The GIFERATOR provided an easy-to-use interface for fans to create GIFs of favorite athletes performing real (or imagined) plays and trash talk. To spur engagement, EA SPORTS recruited a team of experts to meet in a live “War Room” for big rivalry games: all three agencies, EA SPORTS and a representative from the NFL convened to watch for the most thrilling moments. An admin publishing tool made it possible to push timely GIFs to social media within 60 seconds of a big play. Online user data ensured that those GIFs were sent to the right fans in the right market at the right time.

THE RESULTS

The campaign helped place Madden NFL 15 as the top selling game during its launch month. The GIFERATOR became the #4 most popular GIF searched on Google in 2014 and helped Madden NFL 15 achieve a 15 point increase in Net Promoter Score year-over-year.