Creative brand activations in esports: our four favorites

One of the coolest things about the esports world is that – in theory – it has space for everyone. It doesn’t matter if it’s an father of four in his 40s, or a teenager in middle school – esports and gaming can appeal to just about everyone.

On the corporate side of things, that’s true too. Esports has space for everyone and a lot of non-gaming related companies have gotten into esports for their brand activation. Some deals make total sense, such as hardware manufacturers sponsoring competitions by giving their top-of-the-line gear, but not all sponsorships were made equal – here are some of the more… unusual deals out there that really hit the nail on the head.

esports brand activtion

Car manufacturers go brrrr

KIA leads the pack with their esports endeavors as the company pushes partnerships with both esports organizations and entire regional leagues. The reigning League of Legends Worlds Champions DAMWON Gaming are their latest find. The Korean powerhouse has rebranded to DWG KIA following a partnership announced on January 6, 2021. Previously, KIA partnered Rogue Esports in Europe, as well as the entire European LEC competition and the recognizable LECTronic x KIA Motors videos.

Last year, BMW took it a step further. The company partnered with five top esports organizations – Cloud9, Fnatic, FunPlus Phoenix, G2 and T1. Each team got a team-branded car as part of their deal as well, to drive to local tournaments and such. The agreement covered more typical activations too, but getting a team-branded car has got to be one of the coolest things you can receive via a sponsorship!

German supermarkets keep getting into esports

Think of whatever supermarket near you you usually get your milk at. Now imagine it sponsoring your favourite esports team – that feels a bit weird, doesn’t it? Well, for some Germans it’s just Tuesday – not only did, this month, SK Gaming sign a deal with supermarket chain Lidl, but they’re not the first to do so.

Giant supermarket chain REWE has also previously partnered with an esports org, as has Edeka. In the case of SK Gaming, Lidl will be their fresh produce partner – and if that’s not enough, the org is also partnered with an eye-care brand and a pharmacy.

Staying well groomed

Personal grooming products are important, and Gillette make some good razers – the fact that the company partnered with TSM in 2017 had some people scratching their heads though. It was quite a close partnership too – in addition to social media promos and name patches on jerseys, there was even a Twitch partnership where buying Gillette products also earned Bits, Twitch’s online currency, via a link on TSM’s player channels.

L’Oréal Paris also got into the scene by partnering Chiefs EC down in Australia. Their Men Expert line moisturiser was the product that apparently every athlete and viewer needed.

“We are extremely excited to be partnering with The Chiefs in 2020 and introducing many of their fans to L’Oréal Paris Men Expert, a portfolio of skincare products designed to deliver an instant energy boost and set men up for success” – Raagjeet Garg, L’Oréal Paris Australia

We can confirm well groomed players really have better KDA on average.

In Russia, cabs drive esport also

The partnership between Moscow taxi service Citymobile and CS:GO tournament Epicenter was a particularly interesting one – not only was it fairly unique in its perks, but it could set a precedence for some pretty beneficial deals in the future too.

The cab service had a booth at the event, and also chauffeured competitors there and back… and attendees got a discount if they used the service. This could be quite appealing for future partnerships with event-hosting cities themselves, as it’s a win-win for everyone involved!

Esports activations are becoming increasingly diverse with brands from all industries scramble to reach a younger audience.

Read next: Valve goes against the grain with CS:GO coaching changes