After getting caught red-handed promoting FIFA 21’s loot box mechanics in an in-store toy catalog earlier this week, Electronic Arts (EA) has issued a statement on the matter.
Unsurprisingly, the response oozes with the PR-vetted blather we’ve come to expect from the mega-publisher. It does little to explain how the ads found their way into a publication aimed directly at children.
EA does concede the ad, which went as far as detailing four-steps to purchase FIFA Points (FIFA 21’s in-game currency), should not have featured in the catalog. The publisher advises that it’s now working with retailer Smyths Toys to pull the ad and halt the distribution of any remaining copies of the catalog.
We take very seriously the responsibilities we have when marketing EA games and experiences in channels seen by children. In spite of this, we’re aware that advertising for FIFA Points has appeared in environments it shouldn’t have. We have been working diligently with Smyths to ensure this advertisement is not distributed in any remaining copies of their 2020 catalogue.
Keen on pushing the narrative of taking its responsibilities seriously, EA notes:
We have also undertaken an immediate review of all future media placements and are working to ensure each of our marketing efforts better reflects the responsibility we take for the experience of our younger players.
Pulling the ad is a step in the right direction. Nevertheless, it beggars belief that EA authorized it to feature in the catalog in the first place. If EA’s marketing team can’t grasp how inappropriate, and not to say, unethical, such advertising is already, there’s little a review will do.
There’s a sense EA might have happily left the ad in the catalog had eagle-eyed fans not unearthed it first.