Why Coca-Cola Sponsored A Digital-Only Soccer Player
This new deal may open new opportunities for advertisers
The latest Coca-Cola endorser is Alex Hunter, a soccer player that has a loaded backstory and a dream-come-true career in the big leagues. However, unlike fellow players who lands the coveted sponsorship, Alex isn’t an actual person.
Alex Hunter exists in a special mode in the game called “The Journey”, which first appeared in FIFA 17. Players will take on the role of the young athlete who goes on to play for the premier league. After being scouted in FIFA 17, the 17-year old Alex continues to climb his career ladder. In FIFA 18, Alex Hunter will finally meet digitized soccer superstars.
In FIFA 18, Hunter also lands a commercial for Coca-Cola Zero Sugar. In the ad, he is seen posing with fans wearing branded jerseys. This sponsorship of a purely fictional character in a game taps into a unique form of advertising. It’s more engaging than a simple product placement. Digiday reports Anomaly, Mercado McCann, and Havas were instrumental in the partnership.
Despite being fictional, the numbers say Hunter is nothing short of a sport superstar. In the first month since FIFA 17/s release, over 124 million matches have been played and over 164 million goals have been scored by Alex Hunter. Not bad for a sidequest.
Adetomiwa Edun, the real life actor who voices and acts for Alex Hunter says of the success:
“It’s absolutely incredible to see the number of people engaging with The Journey. The social media response has been phenomenal – to have fans shouting out for Alex during big football matches has been surreal – I can’t wait to see where Alex’s journey leads next.”
In a release, Matt Wolf, Coca-Cola VP for Entertainment, Ventures & Strategic Alliances has this to say:
“This is an exciting brand innovation. Signing Alex Hunter puts Coca-Cola at the intersection of gaming and brand marketing within the most popular franchise sports game in the world.”
Aside from in-game visuals, Alex Hunter will appear on Coke cans, social media ad boxes, and the robotic Coca-Cola sign in Times Square.