EA Sports FIFA 21 Launches ‘Boot Room’ Social Series With Alex Scott, Gary Lineker & Phil Foden

To support the global launch of the latest iteration of EA Sports iconic football gaming franchise FIFA 21, following on from the core campaign led by ‘Official Trailer’ and ‘Next Gen’, the gamesmaker teamed up with agency 20something and production company Kode to create a film series where famous footballers play the game and which was called called ‘Boot Room’.


This was an episodic digital take-over centred around a series of social spots starring a strong team of famous football faces including Alex Scott, Gary Lineker and Phil Foden


The brief was to create a Covid-19 alternative to the usual launch premier and live events which EA Sports would host/attend to promote the arrival of the new game.


Live Twitch streams and pre-records are established formats in the gaming community, so the creative team developed a distinctive world inspired by both modern and old-school gaming animation styles which resulted in a series of long and short format films featuring players and hosts.


The spots current young soccer stars like Phil Foden, Erling HaalandSamantha Kerr and Georgia Stanway, as well as legends and icons including Bastian Schweinsteiger, Ashley Cole, Javier Zanetti, as well as players-turned-presenters like Alex Scott and Gary Lineker.


Each episode includes reactive and dynamic animation to dramatise the match and to amplify the players’ personalities for the audience.




Creative company 20something provided the ideation, strategy and creative, while Kode led the production and animation teams.


The videos were created via remote shoots from the Kode office in East London with the players and hosts at home (in the UK, Spain and Italy and Germany).


The process saw the player/host Zooms individually captured on Macbooks and then players’ games were captured through the PS4’s remote play function and Twitch.


The spots were helmed by Kode director and self-confessed football obsessive Pete Banks.


Will Thacker, co-founder at 20something said: “We didn’t want to default to the usual “two players playing FIFA on Zoom” situation so we developed a smart creative wrapper and design system, one that houses our FaceTime/ Zoom footage. But also one that has enough flexibility to create a mad and unique world around it. A visual tone that captures and elevated the humour, fun and banter.”


Pete Banks, director at Kode, commented: “To be able to work on the latest FIFA edition for a second year running now is awesome as I’ve played since I was a kid, and amazing for us to hit the ground running as I land at Kode. Bastian’s cool calm dissection of Ashley Cole’s England was a reluctant highlight, listening to them talk through their game so methodically as they played just made me imagine I was on the pitch in the World Cup 2010. Cole “Relax, Enjoy yourself!” Scweinsteiger “Just pass triangles, make it boring”.


While Alex Wilde, athlete relations director at EA Sports, added: “Once again Kode has brought a fresh approach to our creative. We always strive to bring our athletes together in new ways, in spaces that they can enjoy and be themselves. The Boot Room definitely does this – mixing athlete insight alongside playing FIFA 21 and most importantly, having fun”


“Footballers are naturally competitive, so they wouldn’t want to come and play a game where they lose six-nil, even if it’s only a computer game,” Wilde explained. “So we made it more about interaction and conversation, and less about who wins.”


The campaign was created for EA Sports Alex Wilde by a team at creative agency 20Something led by Art Director Samuel Guillotel, Copywriter Elliott Starr, ECD Will Thacker and Designers Rory Stiff and Casey Highfield.


The production company was Kode with Director Pete Banks, Producer Rob Wildsmith, Executive Producer Jack Goodwin and technical Offline Producers Elliott Williams and Ed Chambers, with edit handled by Jason Leech, Chris Mcilveen and Phil Moss and VFX by Anthony Scott, Alan O’Brien, Andy Dawson, Rob Sulman, Graham Bucknell and Noah Silver, with Illustrator Sam Taylor, Colourist Jess Vilev and sound handled by Echoic Audio





While FIFA is a virtual game, each new launch typically sees EA Sports host a physical launch event – the World Premiere – to promote the new product attended by the cover star, athlete ambassadors, influencers and the media.


But 2020 has been no normal year, so we are seeing more innovative initiatives like this. Indeed, the Boot Room follows on from EA Sports previous direct-to-client initiative with Kode promoting UFC4.


Another notable inventive sports product launches earlier in the pandemic was ASICS’ April virtual reality shoe launch on Oculus Quest (see case study).


The pandemic has accelerated many trends which already existed and this is yet another example of that phenomenon


The recent social media explosion has seen footballers (and other sports stars) rocket away from simply being players with a few endorsements to becoming influencers and media platforms in their own right.


Portugual and Juventus star Christiano Ronaldo now boasts 197.2m followers on Instagram, Barcelona’s Lionel Messi has 140.6m and Neymar 131.3m.


This audience and demand to engage with footballer digital content has seen the rise and rise of disruptive football media publishers and social content creators like like Copa90 and 90min who offer add-ons and behind-the-scenes content on what goes on off the field of play.


EA Sports is a gaming business at heart, but these trends and this kind of campaign is moving it in a new direction as it migrates towards being a crossover between gaming, a sports social content creator and real-world football.





EA Sports FIFA 21









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