How gaming communities insist on smarter marketing | Advertising | Asia campaign

How gaming communities insist on smarter marketing | Advertising | Asia campaign

When Unilever wanted to sell more anti-dandruff shampoos for men in China, it wasn’t surprising that they turned to gaming. Citing China’s esports community of over 400 million gamers, 70% of whom are male, its Clear Men shampoo brand has chosen to partner with Honor of Kings, the world’s best mobile esports game to build affinity with its huge youth audience. of males.

Issei Cinta, Senior Global Brand Manager for Clear Men, said sarcastically asia campaign Game Changers 2022 event in Singapore. For many product marketers, the world of games and esports provides many points of contact with a young and growing audience that can increase brand awareness and provide engagement and interaction, but ultimately should also lead to product sales as well.

“Gaming campaigns have to be effective. They have to come in numbers, which means that agencies and esports partners need to be aware of this as well.” We need a partner who understands first and foremost our brand and its values. We need partners who understand our language and which game campaigns to measure. Because, believe me, the battle I wage internally is much more difficult than the one we face outside.”

But while the range and levels of engagement for gaming audiences create an irresistible target, what happens when that target keeps moving, because it doesn’t necessarily want to be marketed?

explained Jamie Lewin, Managing Partner at Mana Partners, which this week launched a new dedicated gaming offering in Southeast Asia with Publicis Group. “Brands think about campaigns and target audiences. Players don’t think that way at all. If you look at publishers, they think about seasons and drops and ways to energize community values. I think there is a huge demand for a change in how we think.”

Lewin’s new partner, Oliver Spalding, Chief Strategy Officer for Media and Digital at Publicis Groupe, agreed that this should be acknowledged from the start of any interaction with the brand. “Maybe we need to start from the point of view that gamers and especially gaming influencers are very anti-branded and proud of it. In order to interact with them really requires that level of credibility, knowing that the time to understand the community is critical,” said Spalding.

“But it is also about how we take to learn from influencers and supporters and not keep repeating the same campaign mindset versus constant engagement. The biggest challenge will be how players can resist brands to the point where they have been able to effectively build their internet. When we talk about the web3 and the metaverse, the Players are the current architects of that, in part because they want to create their own environment, places where they can engage beyond brands to a certain extent.”

Lewin says the best value professional game consulting firms like himself can offer is to help people in creative and media careers see the world through the eyes of gamers. “It won’t work if you get current media planners and creators who have no idea about gaming or esports, and these communities start writing and putting ads for them. They just won’t understand.”

Rethinking Game Publisher Marketing

It’s not just brands and agencies that operate outside of gaming communities that have to keep up, either. Even the brands of big game publishers are being disrupted by competitors with constant interaction with their communities.

“Bigger, more traditional companies like Electronic Arts or Activision Blizzard have a very traditional view when it comes to media marketing,” says Lewin. “They release games like blockbuster movies,” he says, noting how they made quite a buzz before they were released and then invested back in the communities later. But the opposite, Lewin says, are game-as-a-service (GaaS) publishers like Riot Games’ League of Legends which for 11 years has effectively incremental innovations. These game-as-a-service type providers publish and communicate constantly, a mindset that draws more on the community and has kept their gaming brand strong.

From top to bottom

So, while new approaches are needed, it’s not impossible for brands to resonate with the gaming communities and see real selling results from intuitive, timely initiatives. Examples Lewin cited include KitKat’s work owning esports breaks and the significant shift in brand perception and sales that Mercedes is enjoying in China through its work with League of Legends.

Pictures on the occasion of the renewal of Mercedes-Benz sponsorship of League of Legends

“There’s an infamous misnomer that it’s all upper funnel,” says Lewin. “We can measure all the way through it. It takes a lot of effort in certain categories to do it effectively, but it’s not just sitting at the top of the funnel.”

In the case of Clear Men’s shampoo, the brand was able to provide value to players in the form of a player strength rating in Honor of Kings that can predict certain players’ odds of winning, something Unilever says has allowed it to turn its media position into entertainment. trolley. It also created media around esports awards models, and in the run-up to the 618 Shopping Festival, was able to drive traffic from Weibo, WeChat and Kuaishou to transaction platforms where the brand saw “massive e-commerce sales”.

“It’s not just about what we put on the screens,” Cinta said. “It’s more about the content. We need to add value.”

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