Why Advertising Needs to Pick up the Joystick and Get Its Game On

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INFLUENCER: Born Licensing's David Born on how gaming and esports can play a larger role in adland
Why Advertising Needs to Pick up the Joystick and Get Its Game On

Gaming and esports are growing at lightning speed. It’s estimated that esports attracts an audience of over 454 million viewers thanks to platforms such as Twitch and YouTube.

It’s BIG business. Pokémon’s lifetime revenue across gaming, digital, merchandise, theatrical and other means amounts to a gobsmacking estimated $90b! Other well-known franchises such as Mario, Call of Duty, Pac-Man, Sonic, Street Fighter and Final Fantasy have drummed up billions and billions of revenue since being introduced to the world. 

The advertising industry has already embraced gaming IP and I’m sure it will continue to do so as the popularity of esports grows further.

A few years ago we worked with BBH London and their client KFC on a live event that featured games such as Tekken 7 and Trackmania Turbo. Grime artists such as Big Narstie and P Money partnered with the best talent in gaming including Ali A and Clare Siobhan to go head to head for a battle to win a lifetime supply of KFC. The setting was the Colonel’s Couch, a bespoke gaming sofa which featured bucket holders, refillable drinks, chip trays, in-built speakers, lights to react to gameplay and wet wipes to keep fingers (and controls!) clean. The event was streamed live on Facebook and reached over 2.7 million people, attracting 87% of KFC’s target audience in less than five days. A big success for all involved.

Another campaign we’ve worked on which tied in with a video game was with Instagram and their agency Wieden+Kennedy Amsterdam. ‘Stories Are Everywhere’ presented the world through the lens of the Instagram Stories platform. The campaign featured a range of films, one of which starred the one and only Sonic the Hedgehog, including gameplay from the classic franchise. The campaign went on to be listed as the #3 ad of 2017 by Adweek and won gold at the Eurobest awards.

Gaming is evolving and virtual reality is becoming increasingly popular. To celebrate this we worked with AMV BBDO and their client BT who featured video game Eve Valkyrie in a campaign all about internet speed. In the spot we see a family enjoying super fast fibre speeds in a number of ways, such as the dad playing the PlayStation. Having a title that viewers recognised as a game playable in VR was an important part of making the scene authentic. 

We often receive requests from advertising agencies who are interested in incorporating video games into their work. I'm certain that advertisers will continue to have a huge appetite for collaborating with video game IP holders in the future. 



David Born is founder and owner of Born Licensing

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Born Licensing, 1 year ago