Meet the Woman Behind EA's Huge Campaign for 'Titanfall'

Done Right, Game Fans Will Do the Marketing for You

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With the launch of the much-awaited first person shooter game, "Titanfall," Electronic Arts hoped to engage with its audience in ways it hadn't done before. It would be hard to overestimate the importance of Titanfall to both EA and to Microsoft's Xbox One, which is trailing Sony's Playstation badly in sales.

We talked to the person behind "Titanfall" marketing, Carolyn Feinstein, SVP of global consumer marketing for EA. Ms. Feinstein will tell us more at Ad Age's Digital Conference April 1-2. Until then, here's an edited transcipt:

Carolyn Feinstein
Carolyn Feinstein

Advertising Age: What was your approach with the marketing of "Titanfall?"

Carolyn Feinstein: At the highest level, our goal is to reengineer our dialogue with our consumer to be relevant to them, in the most efficient way and with our ability to understand our consumers well and speak to them as uniquely as we possibly can. What we did with Titanfall is a great example as to how we are fundamentally changing our efforts towards consumer interaction.

Ad Age: Your target audience is devoted gamers, they either love or hate the game. Either way, they're vocal about it. How do you tackle that?

Ms. Feinsten: I have worked in the tech industry and I can tell you that the most knowledgeable audience are the most passionate. Reaching a knowledgeable crowd can be tough. They are very eager to absorb all the information you can provide to them over the course of the campaign and on the other side, they are the best marketers that we have. When a consumer is this knowledgeable, if they are not excited about the game, they can be vocal about that and so it is important that we speak to them honestly, authentically as we did through the course of the "Titanfall" campaign and we are able to make the dialogue productive.

Ad Age: What did you do differently for this launch?

Ms. Feinstein: A lot of things we did externally are now done in house. Our programmatic media buying is done in-house. Our strategies on video and social media have equipped us with the data and understanding about our consumer and optimize that data inside of a much higher performance media practice. We are doing a lot of interactive banners that we created for the game and are blending it with the titanfall experience and connecting consumers back to their gaming heritage.

Ad Age: How do you interact with fan forums?

Ms. Feinstein: We have community management people on our team at EA who are talking to our consumers all the time. We also created something called the 'ronku' network — a network of content creators throughout the the launch of Titanfall and we gave those content creators access to the game itself and gave them the opportunity to create incredible video content that they share on their Youtube channels. A lot of it is about giving this knowledgeable consumer access to information and to the game and having them be a part of the overall conversation.

Ad Age: This audience likes to keep ads at bay. How do you deal with that?

Ms. Feinstein: Instead of interrupting the content they want to see, it's about being a part of that content and being a part of the culture they live in. The interactive banner that I referred to before, we could have done something very different but we chose to weave it into the game and that ultimately is a part of the culture and content.

Ad Age: Similarly, how do you handle this audience on the mobile?

Ms. Feinstein: At the highest level — it's progressing on the consumer journey, which it's onto mobile, so we need to really understand our audience and understand where they live and what devices are present in their environment and what leads up to a purchase decision.

Ad Age: How do you look at mobile as a category?

Ms. Feinstein: We make games for the consoles, but our consumers are diversified where they have limited time and attention and what's interesting is how much broader a definition of a gamer is and used to be and how much broader gaming habits are. Somebody can play a really core game on the console but also be playing candy crush when they are waiting in line for the bus. I say that my job here is ten times harder and a hundred times more interesting than it was 3 years ago. It's an incredibly challenging dynamic but also a fun one.

Ad Age: How do you reach out to women, are they a part of your target audience?

Ms. Feinstein: It depends on the type of game we are talking about. Truth is that, many of the core console games so far is overwhelmingly targeted at a male audience. But what's exciting is, for some of our PC games, the audience is predominantly female. On mobile, we are talking to men and women equally and for some games, we are talking to women more than men. When I started out, my goal was to understanding young men and figuring out the interesting way to talk to them. Gaming is now appealing to more people because the product offering is so more diverse than it used to be.