FIFA win as one – Case Study 2021

Shortlisted 2021

Media and Entertainment

Brand

Electronic Arts

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FIFA win as one

The Challenge

The annual launch of EA’s FIFA has been driven by fierce competition, both within the gaming category, but also as a reflection of the huge competition within football. When launching FIFA21 we needed to drive mass awareness of the new game and ultimately bring in new players to the franchise.  “Some people believe that football is a matter of life and death… I can assure you it is much more important than that.” Bill Shankly, 1981, former Liverpool FC manager.  In a year where Shankly’s quote was cast into sobering perspective, football was halted, and many turned to gaming to attempt to fill the sporting void the pandemic had created. FIFA had filled the gap in many fans’ lives.

The EA SPORTS FIFA franchise has sold more than 325 million units over its lifetime and is the world’s biggest sports gaming franchise. With over 17,000 players and 700+ teams alongside more than 90 stadiums and 30+ leagues FIFA gives the most true-to-life experience of The World’s Game. FIFA’s players are young (16-34) fans of football and, uniquely for the category, not necessarily fans of video games.  In any ‘normal’ year, to reach our huge global audience of football fans, the first place we would turn would be to advertise to the crowds watching live sport together. But the launch of FIFA 21 in October 2020 was at a time when live football was being played behind closed doors with fans watching sport alone. With the physical communities and local rivalries that defined many of the social interactions that football fans had on hold, we needed another way to meaningfully connect with them.

The launch of FIFA 21 was an opportunity to unite fans of the sport, to bring our audience together to unite in their passion for the ‘beautiful game’.

The Creative Solution

We decided to write a ‘love letter’ to this beautiful game that FIFA was at the heart of.  Our ‘love letter’ would be a celebration of the collective and connective power of football, that explored the idea that we could go further together than we ever could alone.  “Win as One” was that love letter.

The target audience was identified as fans of football aged 16-34 – the group for whom the social currency of football and FIFA was most important (and most missed). FIFA21 was the most socially connected version of the game ever, something that would be central to highlight to young fans who were missing the connection that social distancing had paused.  In order to bring these football fans together across the globe and launch FIFA21, the Win as One campaign was built with three clear tasks that would deeply resonate during the pandemic.

1) Celebrate the football community through stand-out demonstrations of FIFA’s love for it

2) Make the celebration a collective and connective event like real football itself, conspicuously reaching ‘crowds’ of people.

3) And whilst sport had no physical gatherings, and football crowds in those places where the sport intersected with broader culture – music, pop-culture and street-fashion.

The Media/Content Amplification Solution

We reinvented the traditional gameplay trailer. A global film celebrating football’s global connection was run directly in the intersections between the sport and fan’s other interests – research identified these were music, fashion, youth culture and recordings of sport.

Once football resumed, we cherry-picked the biggest games to play to the crowds at home during the half-time breaks (alongside FIFA’s in-game crowd noises providing the atmosphere in empty stadiums during TV broadcasts).

Street art and murals have a strong connection to local communities, as icons travelling to the world beyond. In 7 cities around the world, we celebrated local solidarity and football’s place in street culture with jaw-droppingly large murals featuring the next generation of star-players gifted to the fans in their hometown and painted by local artists in biodegradable paint.

And where those collective and connective football contexts didn’t exist already, we created a series of films that celebrated, discussed and explored the sport’s nuances, reaching crowds of millions across the globe.