W+K on EA Standby as See’s Time Runs Out

LOS ANGELES Director Neil Tardio Jr. directed what may be the last of independent See:’s commercials for Electronic Arts.

The spot, breaking this week, shows young men carrying Chihuahuas, getting facials and ordering fussy drinks before they’re made macho by EA’s boxing game, “Fight Night Round 2.”

“It was a pretty low-key shoot, with hugs all around at the wrap,” says Gary Rose, partner and executive producer at Go Film, which represents Tardio.

See:, as Odiorne Wilde Narraway, was EA’s original agency until the now $3 billion company, with an estimated global marketing budget of $150 million, outgrew the San Francisco shop. Though neither the client nor the agency would comment, sources said that EA would soon confirm speculation that roster shop Wieden + Kennedy has been named the lead agency, and that the Portland, Ore., indie is already working on future EA game releases such as one based on The Godfather movies.

In the interim, See:’s work breaks this week for “The Sims 2: University” and, at the end of March, final ads for portable Sony PlayStation (PSP) games “MVP Baseball,” “FIFA Soccer,” “NBA Street” and “NFL Street.” PSP ads for “Need for Speed: Underground Rivals” and “Tiger Woods PGA Tour,” both with W+K, will also break this month, though EA said See: did the PSP work, even for titles on W+K’s roster.

See:, which lost the bulk of its billings in losing EA, would not respond to inquiries about its future.

“See: did good work for EA, and Wieden is a great agency,” said Rose. But it may take some getting used to, an adjustment period by EA.”

W+K will be handed EA’s “Madden Football” title with a bonus: the National Football League last week sold EA exclusive rights to use NFL teams and players in its games. “There is a lot of movement for exclusives in the sports category,” said Trudy Muller, senior manager of corporate communications at the Redwood City, Calif., company. “It was initiated by the league, which was looking for an exclusive partner, just as they do for apparel, beverages and broadcast rights.”