EA to Move $150 Mil. Business From S.F. Shop

LOS ANGELES Electronic Arts is moving its estimated $150 million global ad account from independent See: to another agency, the company confirmed.

“We had a great relationship with See: that helped grow our brand and our business,” said Trudy Muller, senior manager of corporate communications at the Redwood City, Calif.-based company. Muller said the move is intended to address “the global needs of our sports and other games.”

Muller said the company would disclose a new agency partner in the next couple of weeks, and that San Francisco-based See: would handle its business until the end of the fiscal quarter in March.

See: had long been seeking an alliance with a holding company to give it a global reach and address EA’s concerns, according to sources [Adweek, Nov. 15].

Last spring EA assigned two of its most prominent titles, Tiger Woods PGA Tour and Need for Speed: Underground 2, to independent Wieden + Kennedy, Portland, Ore., representing an estimated $10 million in business. W+K was already handling EA’s biggest selling sports title in Europe, FIFA Soccer, out of its Amsterdam, Netherlands, office.

Muller declined to confirm that the remainder of the account would be moved to W+K. Agency executives declined to comment.

Keith McVaney, director of account planning and partner, said that See: resigned the business officially three weeks ago. In 1994, See: opened as Odiorne Wilde Narraway Groome with EA as its first account. The Electronic Arts account, representing $80 million in business even after losing two titles to Wieden, represents almost the entirety of the agency’s billings.

Creative director Harry Cocciolo was hired by See: in December 2003 from Omnicom’s Goodby Silverstein & Partners in an apparent attempt to keep the business. Cocciolo left the agency in less than a year, citing “philosophical differences” [Adweek Online, Oct. 12].

See: hired Todd Brotze last June, specifically to work on the Battlefield Vietnam and Lord of the Rings: Battle for Middle-earth releases.

—with Celeste Ward