Marketer Interview: S. Duran-Carat “Almost 50% of Electronic Arts Budget Is for Digital”

Mexican agency Carat has just won the pan-regional account for Electronic Arts (EA). Santiago Duran Mejia, Regional Director of Digital for Carat Mexico, tells us how the account will be handled, what the digital strategies for one of the world’s largest distributors and producers of video games will be, and the synergies between EA’s pan-regional and U.S. marketing campaigns.

Portada: How important will the various Latin American countries be to Electronic Arts’ (EA) strategy?

Santiago Duran Mejia: "EA’s core markets are Brazil, Mexico and Venezuela, where we expect significant growth this year in our Blockbuster, FIFA and Madden franchises, as well with new releases such as Bulletstorm and Star Wars."

Portada: Who is the main target of the campaign? the consumer or the trade?

Santiago Duran Mejia: "EA’s campaigns are aimed at all those interested in video games, from hard-core gamers to just plain football fans (either soccer or American football). Unlike other game publishers, EA Sports (our sports division) has provided entry to a large part of the player population who only plays sports games and are more "sports enthusiasts" or fans, than they are gamers. Game titles like FIFA or Fight Night also motivate the player to purchase the game console and are so strong that at times may remain the only game that the player buys. On the other hand, every game is treated as a separate brand, so even though we’re targeting gamers in general, we have to adjust and redesign the strategy depending on whether the game is an action, role, or strategy game, etc. Each genre has different players and communication varies from one to another."

Portada: Will you be making pan-regional and/or national-local media buys?

Santiago Duran Mejia: "EA will be making pan-regional media buys from Mexico, as well as local media buys in some countries. Pan-regional titles we support are often global launches for Blockbuster or major franchises. At least 35 new titles are released each year, of which less than ten are pan-regionally supported. In general, all titles have centrally created lines of communication."

Portada: How does EA’s marketing/advertising strategy for the U.S. and elsewhere fit in with its strategy for Latin America?

Santiago Duran Mejia: "In that sense, our advertising and communication message is essentially the same for both the U.S. and Latin America. However, several franchises like FIFA change their covers depending on the region, in order to highlight players that are closest to the region the game is being distributed in. There may even be game content that is activated in some regions and not in others. However, in general, EA utilizes cross-communication in all markets."

Portada: What role will digital media play in EA’s purchasing/media planning strategy?

Santiago Duran Mejia: "Digital media is EA's main channel of communication. Almost 50% of its budget is allocated to these channels and is diversified according to the demand for its titles. The gamers profile makes them more inclined to use digital media, which makes it the ideal tool to inform them of everything having to do with the EA world."

Portada: Will marketing occupy an important role in social networks?

Santiago Duran Mejia: "As would be expected, social media is at the heart of EA’s strategies and is a constant part of both its communication efforts as well as its KPI marketing achievements."

Portada: What other pan-regional accounts are handled by Carat Mexico?
Santiago Duran Mejia: "Carat Digital is responsible for the pan-regional digital activity of NOKIA, TOUS, ADIDAS, REEBOK, EA and very shortly, MATTEL. We are a multidisciplinary team located in 4 Latin American countries, but with region-wide coverage. We belong to ISOBAR and Aegis Media communications group. AEGIS PLC is the holding company listed on the London Stock Exchange."