5 Game Marketing Examples That Brands Used in Marketing Campaigns
by Game Marketing Genie, on 04-Feb-2021 09:00:00
Video gaming is branching out to other industries — including its use as a tool for marketing. With more businesses popping up daily, brands seek creative strategies to capture attention and spread their company message.
Video games have become a popular channel for connecting with consumers, and for good reason. Video game marketing statistics from Statista reveal that there are more than 2.7 BILLION gamers worldwide — that's a good portion of the worldwide population!
The increased screen time and engaged audiences make video games an attractive platform for connecting with audiences. Non-gaming brands are now keen to maximize their gaming opportunities, and here are the five ways they've used video game branding to grow their ventures.
The reach and power of the video game industry
So you saw that there are 2.7 billion gamers in the world currently. But did you know that — with the growth of mobile gaming, live streaming, AR, and VR — this number will rise to 3.1 billion? These statistics are replicated globally, with more people embracing video games as entertainment.
Figure 1: Number of video game users worldwide from 2017 to 2027. Source: Statista
Gaming's prevalence as a major form of entertainment shows that the world is slowly becoming a gamer's paradise, and brands looking to grow their businesses should ensure they are catering to this demographic. Gamers are primarily millennials and younger, but this audience is drastically changing, and these audiences mirror those of many companies.
Because of their wide age brackets, many gamers make small and big purchasing decisions in their homes. They can buy various products, from clothing and electronics to cars and luxury items. This is one of the main reasons marketers are looking for the mediums where this age group spends most of their time, such as gaming.
1. Travis Scott x Fortnite: First look at new content in games
In April 2020, hip-hop megastar Travis Scott collaborated with Fortnite to offer players an in-game concert played out at pre-advertised time slots. Users could find concert posters on walls within the game or on social media. Once logged into the game, users were treated to an incredible visual experience that featured Travis as a giant hologram. This experimental gameplay also featured visual and physical elements to emphasize the party atmosphere.
Figure 2: Travis Scott Astronomical Experience. Source: Fortnite Games
Over 27.7 million users logged in for the in-game event. Millions more streamed it live on YouTube and Twitch or watched the round-up events afterward. Those who attended the virtual concert unlocked Travis Scott skins and add-ons to get real-life merchandise designed to complement Fortnite tie-ins and new music launches.
By setting up the Travis Scott virtual concert, Fortnite gave users a reason to engage with the game. The campaign also attracted many viewers during the live show and subsequent follow-up on Google, YouTube, and Twitch, creating a lot of awareness for the brand.
Since then, other artists, including girl pop superstars BLACKPINK, have collaborated with Fortnite and have even released songs related to the game!
2. Brand tie ins
It's not uncommon for brands to partner with games to create branded content or DLC for in-game marketing. One of the most creative partnerships came in 2019 when EA Games partnered with Jeremy Scott and luxury fashion brand Moschino to create in-game stuff packs that unlocked virtual Moschino garments and new fashion-themed career paths and options. For the campaign, models dressed in signature Moschino outfits from the Sims universe to bring about "avatar realness."
Figure 3: Moschino x Sims collection. Source - Instagram
Both Scott and the Moschino brand are known for their tie-ins with pop culture, and their collaboration helped create unique designs that were a hit with users. Besides the digital launch, a ready-to-wear line under the Moschino x Sims moniker was released, which pays homage to the life simulation game.
Starting at $450, the clothing line retailed at a less affordable price point for gamers. Nevertheless, Moschino executed the collaboration well, showing how brands can use video games to offer users unique experiences.
3. Networking with gaming
Like social networks, video games combine distraction with communication for the ultimate social experience. Thanks to improved internet connectivity and technological advancements, gamers can connect in real-time when playing online multiplayer games. Besides discussing the game, they can talk about their offline lives, making online games a great networking tool that brands can use to connect with a broader audience.
Branded online events offer spaces where players can meet virtually when gaming together. The players may be subtly exposed to branding elements during this social gaming exercise, thus helping brands share their message and reach out to their target user groups.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons is an excellent example of how brands can use video games for networking and audience engagement. Fashion brands like 1000 Thieves, Highsnobiety, and Valentino have launched official clothing lines, while others like Lazy Oaf encouraged users to create their favorite outfits within the game.
Figure 4: Lazy Oaf x Animal Crossing New Horizons Competition. Source: Instagram
The game translated seamlessly into social media, where users shared their Dodo Codes on Twitter and Instagram and invited other players to trade and get their fashion designs. Some lucky users even had celebrities slide into their DMs looking for a trade!
Esports has been growing in popularity and attracting a lot of viewers over the last few years. The esports market is currently valued at almost 1.4 billion USD, a figure that’s expected to rise in the coming years. The prize pools for the most popular esports tournaments (e.g. the Fortnite World Cup or League of Legends World Championship) have also been getting richer with every passing year, indicating that the industry is trending upward.
Figure 5: eSports market revenue worldwide from 2019 to 2025. Source: Statista
Like with other thriving industries, a higher valuation means more money will continue to flow. Companies looking to grow their brands partner with specific esports leagues or tournaments to sponsor the events. These partnerships offer high engagement since they often feature live performances, extensive media coverage, and on-air broadcasters, helping brands connect with enthusiastic gaming fans.
Intel and Red Bull are two companies that are major sponsors of esports events. Intel has sponsored the Intel Extreme Masters with the Electronic Sports League (ESL), and Red Bull sponsors many Dota 2 events.
Another effective way to boost brand awareness is with in-game branding. Brands can advertise in-game objects like billboards, signage, and player jerseys. MasterCard went live with this tactic in 2020's League of Legends Summer Split tournament, where its branding appeared on digital signage on the fictional battlefield. With hundreds of thousands watching the tournament through streaming platforms, MasterCard gained a lot of visibility from the ad campaign.
Figure 5: MasterCard in-game sponsor banner. Source: The Esports Observer
5. Influencers, streamers, and esports players
Another avenue for esports partnerships is becoming a team's official sponsor. Sponsoring an esports team follows the same process as sponsoring teams in the NBA or MLS. The team can wear jerseys that feature the name and logo of the organization/brand supporting them whenever they compete. Even better yet, they can promote brands across social media and externally from esports competitions.
There are many professional teams across different esports games, and the most appealing thing about team sponsorship is that your brand gets represented in every competition they participate in. These events attract massive viewership, helping the brands gain much exposure and popularity with the gamer demographic.
Besides sponsoring a team, brands also work with individual players to fund their streams. Gaming influencers are just as impactful as fashion and beauty influencers. Most of these streamers have millions of followers, and sponsoring their streams is an effective strategy for brand marketing. The streamer can publish promotional content on their channels to advertise the brands sponsoring them.
Brands and popular gaming influencers can also collaborate on a merchandise deal targeting the influencer's loyal audience. Take the example of the brand deal between Adidas and Tyler Blevins to launch a new sneakers collection. More popularly known as Ninja, Blevins is the most followed Twitch gamer, and this collaboration helped Adidas tap into his massive following.
Figure 6: Adidas x Ninja sneaker collection. Source: Footwear News
Brands also partner with influential streamers to promote their products with affiliate marketing. The streamers share a unique code with their fans, who receive discounts when purchasing. The influencer also earns a commission for products purchased with their unique code.
To succeed with influencer marketing, you should only work with influencers who align with your goals and brand values.
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The ultimate guide to game marketing
Hope you enjoyed this article! For more insider game marketing strategies and information, check out The Ultimate Guide to Game Marketing: Everything You Need to Know.
Video games are your opportunity to reach a considerable audience base with many different interests. Video games are popular with people across age groups, and with proper branding, you can connect with many of your users.
Creating an effective video game marketing strategy takes time and effort. The team at Game Marketing Genie can take all that hassle off your hands. If your products complement the pop culture relevance of video games, we are the team to help you tap into this substantial, highly-engaged audience.
Do you need help creating a high-impact marketing strategy for your brand? Get in touch today!