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Meet The Internet's First Living Man

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Lionel Messi becomes first true-to-life, living avatar via Wieden+Kennedy Amsterdam

Meet The Internet's First Living Man

Lionel Messi today becomes the world’s first true-to-life, living avatar. Bringing to life a player from the most realistic football game ever, EA SPORTS™ FIFA 14 on the new Xbox One and PlayStation 4, LIFESIZEMESSI.COM is an internet phenomenon that gives fans of FIFA and football across the globe the unique opportunity to intimately interact with one of the world’s greatest footballers.

Created by Wieden+Kennedy Amsterdam and Resn, LIFESIZEMESSI.COM features a true-to-life Messi avatar - LEO - who is aware of and responds to users. LEO knows you’re there - he looks at you, he follows your movements, he responds to your touch.  He is like a real man just beyond your screen – intelligent, responsive, alive. 

FIFA 14 is alive, with players who think and move like human beings in a world that looks and feels real. What better way to illustrate this next generation technology than bring a player from the game to life? In interacting with avatar LEO, people can also discover FIFA 14’s game-changing new features, such as Pro Instincts and Precision Movement. The game comes to Xbox One on November 19th in North America and the 22nd in Europe, and to PlayStation 4 on November 12th in North America and the 29th in Europe.


On an internet now dominated by flat, simple, and static html websites, the likes of avatar LEO has never been seen before, and has only been made possible by newly utilized and developed technology. 

The avatar was created from hundreds of high-resolution photos of the real Messi and EA SPORTS 3D scans, which were then projection mapped over 750 ‘bones’ to mimic and reflect human actions, compared to the typical 100 used for most 3D models. These bones, along with a variety of subtle animations blended together through Artificial Intelligence mean that LEO’s actions change based on how you treat him. This brings a hyper-sense of human realism and aliveness to the experience.

Avatar LEO was conceived in Maya, but bringing him to life in a browser environment called for a custom-built 3D pipeline that was able to handle 3D models and animations of unparalleled scale and detail for playback in Adobe Flash. Until now, interacting with a life-size man has never been possible – and that man is the world’s greatest player and football avatar, no less.

While the avatar is only interactive on a desktop, a custom-built HTML mobile site utilizes swipe, gyroscope and accelerometer functions to enable people to explore a static – but still life-size – version of LEO from head-to-toe via handheld mobile and tablet devices. 

"We wanted to do something that felt as new and as realistic as FIFA14 on the next generation of consoles,” said Andrew Allen, Wieden+Kennedy Amsterdam Director of Interactive Production. “The trends of flat design, sparse content and plenty of white space didn't seem to cut it. We wanted to show, not tell, people how exciting the new game is and the best way we could think to do this was a with hyper-realistic, life-size, 3D version of the new avatar – big, bold and soulful in your web browser.”

Fans can interact with avatar LEO now at LIFESIZEMESSI.COM and can view new 30 and 20-second TVCs for the game in North America from November 16th and worldwide from the 18th, with a 60-second version airing online at  


Client: ELECTRONIC ARTS                
SVP Global Marketing    Todd Sitrin 
VP, Global Marketing     Jamie McKinlay
International Marketing Director    Oliver Hughes
Global Senior Product Marketing Manager    Matt McKie
Senior Director Advertising & Media    Dana Marineau
Senior Manager, Advertising & Media    Mark Evans
Director, Advertising    Dustin Shekell

Executive Creative Directors    Mark Bernath, Eric Quennoy
Creative Directors    Mike Farr & Pierre Janneau
Interactive Creative Director     Edu Pou
Art Director    Ignasi Tudela Calafell
Copywriter    David Smith
Director of Interactive Production     Andrew Allen
Interactive Producer    Arnaud Ronquillo
Planner    Ben Armistead
Group Account Director    Kirk Johnsen
Account Director    Nick Campion
Account Manager    Kerstin Hagg
Project Manager    Janna Harrington
Business Affairs    Justine Young

Interactive 3D Animation & Texturing    Resn
Audio    Resn
3D Modelling & Maya Animation    Assembly

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