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Starbucks exec joins EA to add marketing jolt

Few games companies have placed as much emphasis on marketing over the years as Electronic Arts.

Now the firm has hired a new marketing chief to lead its messaging efforts in the social media age ... fresh from Starbucks.

Chris Bruzzo joins EA as chief marketing officer, after a seven year stint in the coffee business, much of it spent at Starbucks. According to LinkedIn, his most recent role was "leading the cold-pressed vegetable and fruit juice revolution" at the cafe-culture giant, but his biggest achievement is probably expanding Starbucks reach on Twitter and Facebook before most other companies had even registered social media as a thing.

Marketing wonks regard Starbucks as an early innovator in establishing loyalty-connections via social media. Undoubtedly, this is what excites EA's management team as it grapples with the opportunity presented by channels like Twitter. EA has over 2.6 million followers to its main Twitter account while a brand like Battlefield commands over 7 million Facebook likes.

"Chris was the architect of the Starbucks digital experience, building award-winning loyalty and personalization programs," said EA CEO Andrew Wilson in a blog post. "He also led the growth of record-setting Facebook and Twitter programs, and the My Starbucks Idea online community program. He has tremendous passion for building deeper connections for brands with their customers, and I know Chris will lead us to connect with all of you in new and inspiring ways."

As is traditional with senior EA hires, Bruzzo's video games credentials also got a mention. "Chris is just as comfortable sharing stories about his days playing Escape from Rungistan and Ultima back in the early 1980s on his Apple IIE as he is debating tactics in FIFA, Battlefield or Peggle," added Wilson.

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