Gaming: The Subsequent Frontier For Model Activations

Gaming: The next frontier for brand activation

The game industry is estimated to be worth $ 300 billion by 2025. In 2019, both Apple and Google introduced gaming platforms (Apple Arcade and Stadia) that are changing their standards and improving access to a variety of games. Smart brands are taking notice and discovering new ways to connect with people in formats that are not expected.

A JWT Intelligence report highlights some interesting cases, starting with gaming celebrities. A Fortnite megastar named Ninja (real name Tyler Blevins) entered into a multi-year partnership with Adidas. While he regularly wears Adidas gear while streaming, his own ninja jogger was launched at the end of last year. In China, Nike is the exclusive clothing and footwear partner for League of Legends Pro League players. He taps the LPL player Uzi (real name Jian Zhao) to appear in a campaign.

Beauty brands work with female players. In March 2019, the Fortnite and League of Legends streamer Pokimane (real name Imane Anys) released an eyeshadow palette in collaboration with the makeup brand Winky Lux. Mac Cosmetics, in collaboration with Tencent’s Honor of Kings mobile game, has developed a limited edition lipstick that is reported to sell out within 24 hours. Even Louis Vuitton has partnered with Riot Games to offer prestige skins for League of Legends champions – designed by Nicolas Ghesquière, artistic director of LV's women's collections.

Games and brand activations: Impossible to ignore

Charlie Baillie, co-founder of Esverse media company Ampverse, said: "Brands have been cautious in the past when they approached the game, as this is somewhat unknown." The extent to which talent is building audiences – especially mobile gamers – just can't be ignored now. "These eSports celebrities are so powerful that Ninja has reportedly earned $ 20-30 million to switch from Amazon's Twitch streaming platform to Microsoft's mixer.

While this is a variant of influencer marketing, it is much larger. There is skill and real competition in what players do. Like normal sports stars, esports stars also have games and strategies that many aspiring players want to study and imitate. For brands, this new frontier works in two ways: looking for special people to promote the brand and finding a way to reach a highly loyal and lively fan community. And find ways to make people feel special with custom avatars and promotions, and bring the brand from outside to a whole new experience.

The bigger trend here, however, is partnership. Just as brands want to work with streaming providers to showcase products (and bypass ad-free streaming), they also want to reach audiences who may spend a lot of time in formats outside of over-the-top streaming services like Hulu and Netflix.

This emerging trend should teach brands:

  • your target audience or potential audience. Niche communities, whether gamers or gourmets, can represent great potential for brands that want to take the time to learn, understand and make contacts. This is another reason why diversity is so important. Certainly, some of your own team members have unique interests outside of work. Take your time to find out what it is and don't be afraid to use these interests.
  • Be more creative when you think about activations. Who would have thought Louis Vuitton would work together to build prestige skins for League of Legends? But the partnership modernizes the brand in a way that advertising cannot, and enables the brand to reach millions of people in a surprising and refreshing way.
  • Don't be afraid of smaller ideas. It doesn't always have to be a physical product like shoes, lipstick or nail polish. There are many ways to insert a brand into the digital world of gaming without being a product placement.

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