Coca-Cola nets its first ever virtual athlete in Fifa 18’s rising star Alex Hunter

Coca-Cola has snapped up an unusual ambassador in the protagonist from EA Sport’s football simulator video game, Fifa 18, marking the first time it has snapped up a virtual athlete to ply its wares.

Fifa 17 was the first title in the series to introduce narrative-driven mode, The Journey, in which players take up the guise of young football prodigy Alex Hunter and rise through the ranks of English football. The mode looked to encapsulate many aspects of modern football, including brand endorsements, as such, Hunter actually starred in the Adidas First Never Follows campaign, both in the game and in real life.

For The Journey: Hunter Returns, Coca-Cola has embraced the opportunity to support the virtual athlete for his second season of fame in the game, allowing the soda brand to integrate with the title. He becomes an ambassador for Coca-Cola Zero Sugar in the game.

Matt Wolf, vice president of entertainment, ventures and strategic alliances at Coca-Cola, said: “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.”

Dave Madden, head of global brand partnerships for EA, added: “It’s great to be a part of this truly unique collaboration, the first of its kind. This in-game Coca-Cola endorsement gives our fans a taste of life as a renowned football star and the opportunities that come along with it.”

An ad has run, making a nod to Coca-Cola’s 1979 iconic ‘Mean Joe,’ TV spot in which an American Football star is given a bottle of Coca-Cola from a fan after a tough game. It will run on social channels and the brand’s 3D OOH installation in Times Square.

There is a lot of opportunity for brands in the video game space, especially with Fifa. Earlier this year the Drum investigated why football teams were signing eSports ambassadors who could represent them at Fifa tournaments.

John McCarthy

John is an entertainment marketing reporter at The Drum. He writes about the amazing marketing stories coming from the movie, TV, music and video game industries. He's also the hunt for the weirder trends in marketing and advertising.

Fuelled by tea.

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