When I heard on Friday that Electronic Arts was going to name the retired Brett Favre as its cover athlete for Madden NFL 09,I reserved judgment until I heard from you. I put up a poll and 65 percent of you thoughtit was either ingenious or a good idea, while 25 percent of you thought that it wouldn't affect sales. Only about 9 percent of you thought that the decision was idiotic.
Here's my take. I think Favre being on the cover won't affect sales. I don't think cover athletes with Madden affect sales at all. People either want to buy the game or they don't. I do think that they garnered more publicity than they would have with any other NFL player with Favre, but I also think they shouldn't announce the cover athlete this weekend.
It seems like a natural given the promotional opportunities with the draft. But I think it's just too far away from the purchasing decision and I think the draft kind of swallows it up.
I know that as time goes by more and more people see things and it's harder to keep a secret, but I think it might actually serve EA better in the future to steer clear of the draft and make this choice stand alone instead of attaching it to the event.
Here's a sampling of what you wrote in about the Favre decision:
From John in Columbia, SC:
" think it was a smart move on a couple fronts. First, a Hall of Fame player like Favre does not retire often when they are at the top of their game. Second, no business wants even an indirect connection to slumps. For Sports Illustrated, it’s difficult to avoid because of its weekly publication. Favre allow then to avoid this pattern."
From Dan in Chicago, Illinois:
"It’s a win-win for EA...Putting Favre on the cover only adds to the constant publicity Madden gets every Summer/Fall."
And from Charlie in Buffalo, NY:
"Do you not think the crafty programmers won't hide all kinds of Favre options on the game? If they were smart, they would periodically release Favre codes to build suspense, or combat a sales lull. Overall, I think genius all around, whether he ever plays a professional down again."
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