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EA presents 5-track interactive banner Grand Prix
December 9, 2009, 6:40 pm
Filed under: Advertising & Branding | Tags: , , , ,

EA Need For Speed Banner

Interactive and rich media banners that offer value to the user can be a great way to engage with audiences, as demonstrated by NRG3’s campaign for Electronic Arts and their Need For Speed: SHIFT game.

In the campaign, interactive banners are positioned on five top gaming and racing websites: Auto Week, Inside Gamer, Gamer, Formule 1, Sport Week. Through the banner they are viewing, players can race against others viewing the banner from the other sites. After each race, the players are directed to race the track on the next site, with the five tracks on the five separate sites comprising a Grand Prix. Players can gain badges for certain maneuvers, and their scores and race finishes are collected and stored on the central leaderboard, housed on the campaign’s website. Top-ranking racers win prizes from a copy of the game to an Xbox gaming system, with the top driver receiving the grand prize: “a custom race chair, an XBOX 360 Elite, the game Need For Speed SHIFT and an exclusive mini fridge from Coca-Cola Zero, the campaign’s in-game advertiser.”

The campaign is great because it leverages the banner format to create an experience that acts as a game teaser, allowing users to get a feel for the visuals and gameplay while also competing against and interacting with other players in a web community, in a manner authentic to the experience of gaming on a web-enabled console. In housing the banners on racing and gaming sites, the campaign targets the right audience when they’re in the right mindset, and positions the game in the larger context of racing culture. Showcasing  the brand’s new offering without foisting itself on audiences is a tricky proposition for the garden-variety banner, but EA and Need For Speed: SHIFT succeeds by giving audiences something fun and relevant to play, in the process whetting their appetites for the real thing.

Again leveraging technology and community, simulating the video game experience, and driving traffic (pun intended) to the campaign website is EA’s Twitter mission series.

EA’s Need For Speed: SHIFT campaign reminds me of Mini’s stellar exemplar of how to create rich, interactive, inviting banners: their  “Follow the White Rabbit” campaign, in which users followed a white Mini Cooper from absurd, zany site to absurd, zany site, demonstrating the freewheeling, adventurous, and kooky spirit of the Mini brand and Mini owners.

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