By Claire West

Following the recent re-launch of MSN Games, Microsoft Advertising today announces EA as the first advertiser to reach out to the channel’s newly expanded audience of both casual and traditional gamers.

MSN Games will be ‘taken over‘ for the next five days by creative skins which will advertise the new Need for Speed Hot Pursuit game, giving EA one hundred per cent of the site’s advertising share of voice during that time period. 300,000 unique users will view the campaign site, giving the game launch maximum exposure amongst the channel’s audience of male gamers aged 15-24 and more mainstream console-owning market aged 15-34.

The MSN Games homepage includes both casual and hardcore gaming material, enabling EA to achieve its objective of reaching a wide gaming audience that is already actively seeking out gaming content. Bringing relevant, additional value to EA and MSN’s audience, the MSN editorial team will be supporting the advertising campaign with an article about the hot new car models featured in the game.

MSN channel takeovers offer advertisers a range of benefits, including real contextual value and high engagement rates. Each channel is targeted at specific audiences with specific interests. EA’s campaign includes page takeovers of MSN’s Car, Tech & Gadget, and Him channels, all of which allow EA to target key demographics for its new product. Click-through rates for MSN campaigns are typically high due to the high quality of the content, and its relevancy to the audience.

Chris Maples, commercial director at Microsoft Advertising said: “The two most important elements of this campaign are creativity and engagement. The MSN channels, including MSN Games, offer advertisers the ability to communicate with their target audiences in a very visually engaging way. This is especially important for a product like Need for Speed that uses attention-grabbing visuals to drive consumer interest. This is a great time to run such a campaign, as consumers begin to look out for new entertainment releases with Christmas in mind.”

The EA takeover of MSN Games is now live at http://games.uk.msn.com/gaming/.