Leveraging the buzz and excitement around the 2022 FIFA Men’s World Cup and the upcoming EA SPORTS FIFA 23 World Cup 2022 update, the gaming giant launched a search for the ‘Ultimate FIFA Soundtrack’.
Since it introduced the EA SPORTS FIFA 98 ‘Road To The World Cup’ edition, the EA SPORTS FIFA soundtrack has been a key part of the player experience: indeed, according to EA, ‘the soundtracks have become a defining sound of broader football culture’. One demographic segment has even popularised the everyday conversational term ‘That’s a FIFA song’.
EA SPORTS asked players to choose their favourite FIFA anthem: the song that to them most represents everything they love about the game in a call-to-action for players around the world to crown the most iconic FIFA songs and create the Ultimate FIFA Soundtrack.
The activation, which was developed with agency 20something and London based production studio KODE, asked gamers to nominate their personal favourite FIFA anthem with a launch campaign phase spearheaded by a spot titled ‘EA x FIFA Soundtrack – Vote’ backed by a set of supporting social content.
The video create offered a taste of gaming and musical nostalgia spanning the last quarter of a century by including old in-game graphics alongside classic tracks such as Glass Animals’ ‘Heat Waves’, Sofi Tukker’s ‘Best Friend’, Muse’s ‘Supermassive Black Hole’ and Ceasers’ ‘Jerk It Out’.
Fans were invited to ‘support their sound track’ by streaming it on Spotify via a personalised playlist experience and nominate it with the #UltimateFIFAsoundtrack across social media.
Gamers and football supporters were even encouraged to call in to a pirate radio station ‘23FM’ to battle it out on behalf of their favourite tracks from over the years.
With the nominations all in, a second campaign film revealed the top 40 musicians and tracks who will return in the EA SPORTS FIFA 23 World Cup update: Blur’s ‘Song 2’ – the first song ever to appear in the edition back in 1998 – was the first track revealed.
On 7 November, the campaign reached a climax with a video called ‘FIFA 23 | Ultimate Soundtrack Reveal’.
“For the past quarter century, EA SPORTS FIFA has been a destination for new music from up-and-coming artists and superstars alike. Every fan has their favourite FIFA tracks, and this playlist is the ultimate celebration of the music that has defined discovery, diversity, and excellence for generations of gamers,” said EA President Of Music Steve Schnur. “Originally, FIFA soundtracks reflected global culture. Then they began to influence culture. The Ultimate FIFA Soundtrack proves how and why they’ve become culture.”
20something Creative Cathryn Carey added: “Once we got this brief we knew we had to put fans at the centre of this campaign and recreate the banter and debate we knew was inevitable with the kick off of the Ultimate Soundtrack. The pirate radio station gave us the perfect platform to capture this buzz and was a natural way to celebrate the nostalgic tracks that remind us of FIFA.”
KODE Director Harry Cauty commented: “We had a mad vision for these films in which Julie hosts a global debate from her top floor pirate radio HQ, with people dialling in from all over. I wanted to create a world that felt independent and uncensored, with a level of detail that meant Julie could really embody the role. Oian Arteta took an abandoned flat and turned it into a purist paradise, with set dressing that nods to years of music and football. Music is what drives this campaign, but we see cameos from gaming, sports, music and animation. I’ve always been a big Jamie Hewlett fan so speaking with his team and using a Gorillaz animation in the film feels like a win in itself. The cast really gave it their all on set, and the energy that Julie put into bringing her role to life was infectious.”
This is a smart sonic campaign and one that shows how the gaming industry is increasingly bridging the old school divide between sport and culture.
Indeed, the impact of EA SPORTS FIFA soundtracks has also become important to the careers of many of the musicians featured in the game: for example, FIFA 21 helped drive the soaring popularity of the band Glass Animals whose song ‘Heat Waves’ now boasts more than 2 billion plays on Spotify.