* EA's The Sims Online
product placement deal with McDonald's &
16 sep 2002
that's a transcription of an article in the from 16 sep:
"McDonald's, Intel Pay
to Be in Game
|Internet: The 'Sims'
product placement deal with
Electronic Arts is a milestone for the
video game industry.
By ALEX PHAM, TIMES
Taking a page out of
Hollywood's product-placement script, Electronic
Arts Inc. has inked a deal with Intel Corp. and
McDonald's Corp. to incorporate their products
into its upcoming computer game, "The Sims
The multimillion-dollar deal
is a milestone for the game industry, which
traditionally has paid to use other companies'
logos in their games.
Sony Corp., for example, has
paid tens of thousands of dollars to car
manufacturers such as Honda Motor Co. to use
real-world race cars in its driving games. EA has
handed over millions of dollars to the National
Football League for its series of "Madden
This time, Intel and
McDonald's will be the ones spending money for
the privilege of seeing their logos in a game.
The turnaround demonstrates
the burgeoning role of video games in shaping
Boosted by more powerful
hardware that can render richer and more
immersing virtual environments, games have gained
traction with a wider audience. Sales grew to
more than $6 billion in the United States last
year, compared with Hollywood box office receipts
of $8.4 billion.
are starting to take notice. And EA is poised to
take advantage of the industry's newfound
popularity. It has signed an agreement with
Reebok International Ltd. to place the shoe
company's logo into its popular "Madden
Football" game this year.
But the deal announced today
dwarfs the Reebok deal "by an order of
magnitude," said EA spokesman Jeff Brown.
"We absolutely expect that there will be
Due out this fall, "The
Sims Online," as the name implies, will be
an online version of EA's popular series
"The Sims." Since its debut in 2000,
the title has sold 9 million copies and 8 million
expansion packs, separately sold add-on software.
The game, a doll-house
simulation of real life, lets players choose
occupations, buy houses, furnish them, date,
marry and have kids. Half its players are women,
which is unusual because computer games typically
skew toward young males.
This demographic mix,
combined with the game's large following, makes
it an appealing vehicle for advertisers.
"We felt we could
strengthen our brand identity and increase
awareness of our products with the women and
young adults who play this game," said
Alison Richards, director of co-marketing at
Intel. "This is our first product placement
in an online environment. Before this, we did
very, very little in the way of product
In "The Sims
Online," players can buy Intel PCs, which
will help boost their characters' logic skills
and fun factor. They also can run a McDonald's
kiosk to make money.
Product placement is nothing
new for Hollywood. Steven Spielberg's latest
movie, "Minority Report," got several
million dollars from featuring the brands of 15
companies, including Toyota Motor Corp., American
Express Co. and Gap Inc. Perhaps the most
well-known product placement is the Aston Martin
car in "James Bond" movies.
But it's new territory for
"The video game
industry has been experimenting with sponsorships
in recent years," Brown said. But the
product placement deal "is a breakthrough
for us," he said."