FIFA 15: Celebrity Footballers, Giveaways and Twitter

25 September, 2014

Celebrity endorsements have received much criticism in the past. But once you analyse what’s going on with EA Sports’ newest product launch, you’ll soon realise what’s the real driving force behind the buzz.  

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In the last post, I touched upon a few unorthodox marketing principles by looking at the guerrilla fighter. One of those principles was the element of ambush – and perhaps the best example of this recently was when newly found “Beats by Dr Dre” ambushed the Olympic Games in London by handing out their headphones to celebrity athletes.

But it’s not the ambushing principle I want to pick up on, though. Because what was significant here was the fact that these headphones were given out for FREE knowing too well that during such a competition they would be used regularly, and more importantly, would be picked up by hundreds of news reporters and social media commentators worldwide.

And that’s what happened, in a move that was to firmly place the company within the audio, sound and music industry.

It was all about giveaways to celebrities at the crucial moment.

Take a look at Twitter right now, and you’ll see exactly the same happening to video games maker EA Sports’ flagship product FIFA 15 which launches tomorrow. (#FIFA15Friday is trending as I write this post.)

Celebrities are tweeting photos of themselves holding the game and publicly thanking EA Sports, and are building massive anticipation within the football and video games community in the process. These celebrities – namely professional footballers who are actually featured in the FIFA 15 game itself – have been sent copies up to a week before it hits the market are now doing wonders to the pre-selling of the video game.

And given all of these sports stars have a combined Twitter following of somewhere in the hundreds of millions, which would also include their Facebook following, you’re looking at a worldwide event. If football fans didn’t know what FIFA 15 was about, then there’s no doubt that they do after this week.

These footballers have naturally anticipated the game themselves as it is those that the user control’s within the game. Essentially, they are the product. Which again makes this strategy so clever because it’s those who are the ones that would become very active in promoting it to their fans and followers. Everyone is excited, just like Arsenal Football Club’s Theo Walcott, and his followers.

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EA Sports have identified the method that they are going to create massive anticipation (Giveaways); identified the channel from which they are to utilize to create the most buzz (Twitter and other Social Media channels); and chosen who their main ‘salespeople’ were going to be (the celebrity footballers themselves).

Okay, there may be other sponsorship deals or financial incentives going on behind the scenes that we won’t really know about for a while. Sure, celebrities get around $100,000 of the free stuff annually too.

But what is certain is that the strategy of offering giveaways and freebies will always be a successful strategy if the product, timing and recipient is right. Being smart, keeping it simple, knowing your product and your market won’t cost a lot also.

Even weeks before the launch of FIFA 15 video gamers have been playing a free demo of the game to get a feel of what’s to come… that’ll also leave them gasping for more.

This is pre-selling through giveaways at its finest x2!

My guess is that this will be one of the biggest video game launches in video game history. And we’ll soon find out why…

Start thinking seriously about giveaways because you will take back much more than what you gave. Human psychology dictates this despite what your initial remarks may be.

For more on Giveaways, and how you and your small businesses can benefit from adding them to your marketing plan, check out my FREE eBook Unorthodox Marketing.

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