Case Study: Waking Up To Gaming

Bud Light has been in esports for four years now, making the brand an elder statesman. Can you believe it? In a category that is "growing like crazy," the brand has taken advantage of the current pandemic, with few sports in play and everyone stuck at home, to dig deeper into the gaming industry. 

Joseph Barnes, Director, Bud Light Sports Marketing at Anheuser-Busch (inset above), set out a case study on Wednesday at our Brand Insider Summit CPG. First, he said that esports is an important place for marketers to be because it is up 25% year over year. There are 116 million unique people on Twitch. "For Bud Light, where crazy if we're not trying to get into this space," he said. "It's a highly engaging platform With new influencers taking precedent in some spaces over what normally would be big brand advertisers." 

The brand's purposed is: No matter how hard gamers compete, Bud Light Seltzer celebrates gamers who play to have fun. "At the end of the game, there are celebratory moments where we speak to casual gamers because that's a bigger space than hard-core gamers," said Barnes. Bud Light looks at partnerships, organic content, people with products in the hands (seen above), activation, earned media, retail and live events.

Bud Light's partnership with League of Legends is its biggest although it has other league partnerships, team sponsorships and influencers.

Content, he said, is important during COVID. Bud Light's is the leading channel on Twitch with 35,000-plus average viewers year to date, 3.62 million live views and 530,000 hours watched. With a mix of owned and partner content, the brand offers a Bud Light Beer League for amateur gamers with an opportunity for placement in a professional tournament if they win and plays host to League Of Legends on its channel where, post-game, players come onto a bar setting, enjoying authentically interrelated sodas and energy drinks.

As far as activation, Barnes cited earned media, retail/e-commerce, and live events. After COVID hit and professional sports leagues went on hiatus, the brand called on every professional sports to play a tournament of Call of Duty: War Zone for charity. It offered discount codes for purchase and prizes such as coolers as well as discount codes on Drizly.

Key learnings he offered were:

  • Be authentic to your brand purpose and voice.
  • Put the consumer first to add value to consumer's gaming experience
  • Activate at culturally relevant moments
  • Create clearly defined KPIs and evolve your programs constantly.
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