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10 ways brands are venturing into the world of gaming and esports.

In our Gaming for Marketers content series we will break down the gaming and esports ecosystem to make it easier to understand. To get you started we have compiled 10 examples that demonstrate how brands can venture into this world and create value for their customers through gaming.

1. Nike Air Jordan sneakers in Fortnite.

Nike air jordan 1 sneakers in fortnite

In May 2019 Nike struck a deal with Epic Games to release a Fortnite x Jumpman “Hang Time” bundle in the game. This included branded gear as well as an exclusive game mode for players that bought the bundle.

Two outfits were made available, both came with Air Jordan 1 sneakers.

The exclusive game mode was skateboarding themed allowing players to do tricks to collect coins. The mode also unlocks skateboard Back Bling (a cosmetic item in Fortnite).

This wasn’t a free giveaway, players need to buy the sneakers using Fortnite’s virtual currency.

2. Uber Eats discount codes that change based on player performance.

Ninja partners with uber eats

Uber Eats issued a challenge to top tier gaming streamer Tyler ‘Ninja’ Blevins.

For each of Ninja’s kills in Fortnite Uber Eats would give his viewers an additional 1% discount. The catch? He had the time it took between ordering Quiznos and it arriving at his house to complete the challenge.

Ninja racked up 25 kills in that time, earning a 25% discount for his fans.

The code was valid for several days but the activation was so successful that Uber Eats reached the maximum number of redemptions in under 24 hours.

This simple creative brief to a creator drove both brand awareness, product sign ups and direct sales for Uber Eats.

3. Rough Guides celebrate in-game photographers.

Monument of sanctuary ruins in anthem rough guide to xbox

The travel publisher Rough Guides took travel photography into the virtual world, championing the relatively new trend of in-game photography by compiling The Rough Guide to Xbox.

The guide features incredible in-game scenes captured by the best in-game photographers, including the Pyramids of Giza in Assassin’s Creed Origins, the Monument of Sanctuary Ruins in Anthem, and Paititi in Shadow of the Tomb Raider.

You can buy a copy of the guide on the Xbox store.

4. Coca Cola sponsor the Overwatch League.

Coca Cola and Overwatch League logos

In February 2019 Coca Cola became the official non-alcoholic beverage sponsor of the Overwatch League.

Under the deal Coca Cola gets exclusivity with all 20 of the OWL teams, the Overwatch Contenders League, the Open Division, the Overwatch World Cup, BlizzCon and collegiate events.

The deal is believed to last for three years.

5. Mountain Dew gives amateur teams a chance to compete in the pro leagues.

ESl counter strike global offensive players

Mountain Dew launched an initiative for amateur teams vying for a spot to participate in the Counter Strike Global Offensive Pro League.

This grassroots partnership is in its third year, and this year features an All Star Match and a competition to find the Next Big Caster, both driven by fan voting.

Disclosure: Mountain Dew have also run gaming creator campaigns with yup.gg in the Philippines.

6. Intel created their own PUBG tournament in Thailand.

PUBG

Intel launched their ‘Game is War’ tournament in Thailand to engage the local community with Thai-specific gaming content.

The tournament reached over 7.5 million people with the live streams peaking at 181,000 concurrent viewers, rivalling top Thai TV shows for viewership.

Intel connected the activity to in-store promotions and saw a significant lift in product sales linked to the ‘Game is War’ activation.

Disclosure: ‘Game is War’ was recruited, run and managed by yup.gg.

7. Marvel promote movies with character releases in Fortnite.

Fortnite Avengers Endgame

Marvel and Epic Games developed a new limited time game mode for Fortnite that shifted the traditional gameplay forcing players to team up to fight a super powerful Thanos in an extra chaotic Battle Royale. One side fights as the hero team, on the other side as Thanos and his Chitauri hunting for the six Infinity Stones.

The first Chitauri to find an Infinity Stone becomes Thanos, acquiring huge power, but also becoming an immediate target for every player on the hero team.

New challenges gave players access to free rewards and Avengers: Endgame items were made available in the store, including Black Widow’s outfit and weapons.

To date this is arguably the biggest crossover event ever seen between Hollywood and the gaming industry.

Marvel have followed up with another in-game activation for Deadpool.

8. Nike bets big on esports.

Nike League of Legends Pro League China Sponsorship

In what is believed to be a four year deal, each of the 16 teams in the League of Legends Pro League (LPL) in China will be outfitted with Nike sneakers, casual clothing and pro jerseys.

Similar to the way Nike works with other major sporting leagues, like the NBA and the NFL, this will give Nike huge merchandising opportunities and access to players, teams and broadcast reach that builds their brand within a new audience. A sign that major sporting sponsors are putting serious investment into esports events.

9. Totino’s is making content with 100 Thieves

Totino's partner with 100 Thieves

Totino’s, the frozen pizza brand, became the founding sponsor of 100 Thieves’ Call of Duty team in early 2019.

Enabler brands like Totino’s fit easily into the gaming ecosystem, and throughout the collaboration Totino’s have helped create documentary content about life within the 100 Thieves team.

Matthew ‘Nadeshot’ Haag, Founder and CEO of 100 Thieves said “It’s a really organic partnership, snacking and gaming go hand-in-hand. Growing up, countless hours of my gaming were fuelled by their pizza rolls, and I know I am absolutely not alone in that.”

Totino’s expanded their activity around Call of Duty with a direct partnership with Activision Blizzard, offering fans item unlocks within Call of Duty: Modern Warfare via on-pack promotions.

10. Red Bull Gaming Sphere expands to Tokyo

Red Bull Gaming Sphere Tokyo

Red Bull launched their first Gaming Sphere event space in London in 2018, and have recently expanded to a new venue in Nakano, Tokyo.

Red Bull Gaming Sphere is a public esports studio designed to be social and communal while helping players level up their gaming skills. The brand hosts regular gaming events, including #RedBullMondayNightStreaks, a Monday night competitive series that focused on different games each week and is streamed on OPENREC.tv.

It’s also a welcoming space for advanced and casual players, publishers, developers and spectators alike, placing Red Bull at the heart of the gaming scene in Tokyo.

Red Bull also sponsor a number of esports teams, players and streamers across the world.

To find our how your brand can start reaching your audience through gaming please get in touch, we love to chat.

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