EA seeks agency for launch campaigns

LONDON - Electronic Arts (EA) is seeking an agency to handle its pan-European marketing campaigns for game launches.

The video games publisher has drawn up a pitch shortlist of several digital and direct agencies. Until now, it has used a variety of agencies, including MediaCom Create, on a project basis to launch key titles.

Wieden & Kennedy, which EA appointed to its global ad business in 2005, is not part of the review. Its Portland agency in the US will manage EA's North American business, while W&K Amsterdam oversees its European assignments.

Like-for-like revenues at EA's European operations, which account for a third of its income, were down 20% for the first three months of 2009, to $336m. The lion's share of the company's total revenue comes from Sony PlayStation 3 games.

In the past year 31 EA titles have exceeded unit sales of 1m. Flagship titles FIFA 09, Madden NFL 09 and Need for Speed Undercover all sold more than 5m copies.

Upcoming game launches include Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Grand Slam Tennis and The Sims 3, with the latter launching in the UK market on Friday. It will be promoted through a TV, press and outdoor campaign and an online community.

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