Inside Google’s real-time GIF campaign for Madden NFL 15


Imagine this: You’re watching the NFL opening game between the Green Bay Packers and the Seattle Seahawks, while also hanging out on

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers throws a 40-yard pass. Seconds after the pass is completed, an ad for Madden NFL 15 pops up on Bleacher Report, featuring a video-game GIF of Rodgers doing a celebratory end zone dance.

This is about as real-time as it gets.

The ad, which promotes the newest title in the EA Sports lineup, was made possible by Google, its agency Grow and EA agency Heat.

The campaign, dubbed “Madden Giferator,” pulls in-game visuals from Madden NFL 15 — from touchdowns to end zone celebrations to tackles — and sends them across Google’s display ad network when similar plays happen mid-game in real life.packers_cmatthews52_predator

It’s all part of Google’s attempt to court advertisers by demonstrating how the sophistication of its own technology, which it has been doing via “Art, Copy & Code,” an ongoing campaign from the tech giant that has been creating campaigns for many different brands, from Volkswagen to Burberry.

The idea is to essentially bring more advertising onto the Google platform. The company says the mission is to figure out “the future of advertising” when “code” becomes as important as the two pillars of the creative revolution — “art” and “copy.”

Mike Glaser, marketing manager, creative partnerships at Google, said that the team sat down with football fans for a couple of weeks to find out what they did on their second screens while watching football games. “We want to help brands deliver the right content,” he said. Then, they sat down with an advance copy of Madden 15 and grabbed five to 10 second clips of all 32 games. “We have a database of every type of scenario, and we’ve written hundreds of headlines.”

The GIFs are also shareable — clicking on the ad creative will let people go to a special site to find those “moments.” Fans can also make their own GIFs and use them to trash-talk with friends: When your team makes an exceptionally good play, head over to the site, grab a similar Madden scenario, customize it with some trash-talk and send it off.

Google has also recently flexed its real-time marketing muscle in real-time ads for Nike during the World Cup.

Previous work in Google’s “Art, Copy & Code” mission included “SmileDrive,” an Android app that let Volkswagen drivers keep track of and share an array of statistics about their rides.

Another project, created with Burberry, lets users send a postcard online with an imprint of their own kiss, planted right on their mobile screen.

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