A Tiger Woods video responding to a player’s critique of a game glitch has become a virtual sensation, inspiring BusinessWeek to talk with Electronic Arts about the advertisement’s success.
Youtube member Levinator25 uploaded a video a year ago from Tiger Woods PGA Tour 08 of a glitch where golf prodigy Tiger Woods was able to stand on a lake to hit a ball floating in the water. Publisher Electronic Arts responded in an extraordinarily funny and lighthearted manner by recording an advertisement with the real Woods replicating this shot. A month ago, the company uploaded the video to Youtube and quickly attracted over two million page views.
EA Sports Product Manager Praveeta Singh revealed that the company’s ad agency, Wieden+Kennedy, found the original glitch footage and thought of how to spin it into a clever commercial. “We looked at it and we thought it would be pretty funny, so we gave it the go-ahead,” said Singh. “One of the nice things was that people saw the human side of EA. I like to say that I work with a bunch of overgrown five-year-olds! People here really have such passion for sports, and to work in this environment, you have to have a sense of humor.”
She continued, “We filmed it here in Orlando in June in one of the courses here. It was before [Tiger] pulled out of the PGA for the rest of the year. Tiger was very cool with the ads. We laid out the storyboards to him and we sent them a lot of examples showing what we wanted to do. When they saw it, they saw exactly what we wanted to do right off the bat, so there wasn’t a lot of clarification or debate.”
Before the video was played on television promoting Tiger Woods PGA Tour 09, it debuted on Youtube. Singh feels this is not only a natural response to Levinator25’s shot but also an example of the growing reach of web ads.
“It’s really important as we look at our marketing list to reach new marketing mediums. People are on the Internet and one of the things we consider is that, with TiVo, people skip over commercials,” explained Singh. “You think about all the things you’re doing in a day, you might not watch TV, but you’ve probably been online. As marketers we’re looking for different ways to approach our customers. We want this new Tiger ad to be appealing and show that there’s a new game out there. We see it as a way of reaching [our customers] on a different level.”
Part of the ads appeal to EA was that it showed a “different side” of the company. “We’re always inundated with information and our attention spans are getting shorter, so I think putting the clip on the web works to that as well,” she added. “It’s funny because when people look for a clip they go to video on YouTube first and not through ‘conventional channels.'”