Trends and Insight in association withSynapse Virtual Production

Gaming is Not What You Think

Experiential Marketing
London, UK
Mike White, CEO and strategy, Lively Worldwide discusses the need to ditch outdated preconceptions on gamers and its impact in advertising

​Gaming is worth millions in advertising and marketing these days but if you want your brand to be relevant and interesting to the billions of players, you need to get to know this world and ditch your preconceptions of what gaming is and who is involved. Mike White, CEO and strategy, Lively Worldwide explains more.

Influencers in gaming are not all white boys playing first-person shooter games, so you can bin that damaging trope. We recently worked with five women in gaming who shared some great advice. 

Get out of your gaming box 

Ebonix Sims and her colleague Geeky Cassie set up Black Twitch UK to find and highlight other gaming streamers. This important work boosts recognition and representation. While we’re at it, e-sports host and gamer Erin Ashley Simon can tell you that black gamers are not all about NBA gaming, another cliche hits the dust. Don’t assume that different cultures fit into particular gaming boxes. 

Making assumptions about gamers is damaging, to you mostly but also to the people you’re taking liberties with. Stephanie Ijoma, founder of NNESAGA, works across media from TV and anime to comics and film and she has explained that lifestyle means nothing in gaming - not all gamers are nerdy kids and as she succinctly puts it - “You can still be a bad B and pick up a pad”. Not realising the breadth of talent you can work with leaves you at a disadvantage - Frankie Ward is an e-sports host and gamer and the issue she often faces is that others will underestimate her experience in the sector. 

Thinking that gamers only exist in spaces where they are virtually armed or playing sports is another easy error. Minecraft, Sims, Animal Crossing and more are virtual social spaces where you can reach a huge audience and not compromise a PG brand along the way. 

Unstoppable growth of the gaming industry

There’s no excuse for skipping research in any sector you work in. Missing an opportunity like gaming is an obvious mistake given its incredible growth rate. The global gaming market was valued at $151.5bn in 2019 with players who are diverse in age, gender and race. The influencers we worked with are smart influential women at the forefront of diversity movements who reach thousands of other people in-game, on Twitch and across social media. That’s an incredibly powerful force. 

So once you have approached gaming and started to get to know the characters, leaders and celebrities across different games, how can you connect with them? Frankie Ward sums it up nicely - “Be happy immersing yourself. People appreciate the enthusiasm because people who work well in gaming are gamers themselves.” 

There are not many sectors where you get to play games and enjoy yourself as part of your research. One final stereotype we want to smash is that gamers zone out or switch off when they are playing. These vast digital worlds where millions of people interact are some of the most engaging environments you may ever visit. Getting into these fields and thinking carefully about where you are and what you can bring to these spaces can definitely be work - but the fun kind, which has to be a better proposition than yet another slide show in a Zoom meeting.