EA Touts Latest Madden Release

LOS ANGELES Independent Wieden + Kennedy in Portland, Ore., backs today’s release of Electronic Arts’ Madden NFL 07 with a flurry of more than a half-dozen TV and online executions. (A 30-second teaser spot, “Maddenoliday,” is already on air.)

Event marketing is also in the mix, with all 74 residents of Madden, Miss., today receiving Xbox 360 gaming consoles and copies of the game.

“The ‘Maddenoliday’ spot refers to the grass-roots movement of game fanatics to get the launch day as a national holiday,” said agency creative director Mike McCommon. “It started because so many people buy the game at midnight and take off work to play the game all day.”

The new spots pose the question, “How does it feel?” which operates as a sub-tagline to the client’s familiar “It’s in the game” positioning.

The goal, per McCommon, is to present the twofold thrill of winning the actual game while vicariously playing among star athletes.

The spots themselves use a combination of scripted and spontaneous game footage. “There’s a lot of extemporaneous trash talking between athletes like Daunte Culpepper, Shaun Alexander and Chad Johnson,” McCommon said. “In one spot, a pro is reacting to himself in the game. It’s fascinating to watch someone watch his own character.”

The teaser spot takes the form of a sports fantasy: Fathers and sons bond in the woods by chopping down a goalpost. A Macy’s-style parade features a Shaun Alexander balloon. Mothers bake game-controller cookies. Cheesy animation (suggesting a perennial special) shows elves making the controllers. Beef jerky fills stockings. A holiday song by a choir is bowdlerized with comical football-worshipping lyrics.

The Redwood City, Calif.-based company is also launching a Web site today, EAsports.com/replay, where gamers can post replay footage from their contests.

McCommon credited two teams working under him: Lee Jennings (art) and Marc D’Avignon (copy) on the teaser spot and Aaron Allen (art) and Ian Fairbrother (copy) on the replay campaign.