‘It’s easy to put your name on something’: Hollister explains why owning, not sponsoring esports events, works for her brand
When it comes to esports, some advertisers see themselves more as a curator than a sponsor.
Clothing retailer Hollister joins a growing list of advertisers, including Budweiser Lite and Wendy’s, who don’t just act as a free sponsor. They try to create their own mini-events around some of the more popular titles in order to avoid passing off as cold corporate sponsors to a gaming audience known for being ad-resistant.
Hollister is hosting a month-long Fortnite tournament to promote a new line of clothing for gamers. This new collection is available at Hollister stores worldwide and online and includes graphic t-shirts, shorts, loungewear, windbreakers and socks.
The tournament itself sees participants team up to form a duo that will compete for a range of prizes, including Hollister gift cards, Fortnite V-bucks, and a custom gaming hoodie from the retailer’s collection.
Hollister runs the contest from an app that will allow players to create their teams and then compete for the prizes. Mobile application for players Mission Control provides the platform for the competition, where duos can communicate with each other and view their ranking in the tournament.
âIt’s relatively easy as a brand to put your name on something, let it live and continue to feed it with paid media,â said Jacee Scoular, director of brand marketing at Hollister. âWe wanted to do something different. This is not an activation where you have to come out on top to “win”. It’s about doing something you already love to do and having a chance to be rewarded, whether you are the best player in the game or the worst. “
In many ways, the title has reinvigorated casual gaming for a wide range of audiences, not just die-hard gamers. Indeed, people start the game for a variety of reasons, from hanging out with friends to creating their own maps, which attracts more types of players than a typical game. Plus, having up to 100 real-time players creates a much bigger live experience than most games, and that has fueled that real-world view of the game. That’s why it’s so unique to advertisers. If done right, they can reach players and spectators, which is not typical of many other games.
âFortnite is one of the biggest and most accessible games on the market and it ranks in the top five games among our Gen Z target population,â said Scoular. âThis is our first foray into thinking about competitive gaming in a way that makes sense to us and with a brand like Fortnite.
Since the campaign is still ongoing, Hollister was unable to share any statistics. Still, the first signs suggest he was well received by fans, Scoular said. Needless to say, there are already ideas for follow-up, especially now that there is a community around the tournament.
It took a lot of work to encourage players to enter the tournament. It is therefore unlikely that this will be a one-off campaign. Now he has a community on the app that is engaged in his event, Hollister is thinking about other ways to build programming around it.
âUntil now, gaming campaigns have been difficult to activate, with bespoke formats, limited targeting, brand relevance issues and a lack of measurement,â said Samuel Huber, CEO of the technology provider. advertising for Admix games. âThis is changing rapidly, with several disruptive innovators working on the infrastructure to transform the game into a scalable and profitable media channel, ie programmatic delivery from existing DSPs, categorization of brand safety and third party measurement.
Brand-driven events around gaming are becoming more and more common among advertisers, especially those that are not endemic to the gamer world. Budweiser Light did this last September by kicking off the ‘Battle of the Best’ tournament where some of Twitch’s top streamers and personalities faced off in a mix of games.