Globally, eSports is surprisingly big (at least to non-gamers). And, with news that a local tournament is set to come to a Sky TV pop-up channel, it's starting to gain traction in New Zealand. At this stage, MyRepublic has put its name on the hoardings, but sponsors are few and far between for the local event and it's not clear if Sky will sell advertising around it. But due to the growing popularity of eSports among the hard to reach younger (and predominantly male) demographics, it is starting to attract interest from major brands, including Snickers, which recently punked thousands of people on the gaming platform Twitch.tv.
As evidence of how popular gaming culture has become, Twitch.tv, a network owned by Amazon that shows "playthroughs of video games [either live or on-demand], broadcasts of esports competitions, and more recently, creative content", announced this year that it had more than 1.5 million broadcasters and 100 million visitors per month. So, in a clever execution aligned with its long-running brand platform, 'you're not you when you're hungry', the Mars-owned brand and BBDO New York pulled a switcheroo on fans by getting three gamers with hundreds of thousands of followers on the site to start playing really poorly. Many wondered what was going on, before each player took off in a huff and returned to their chairs as completely different people, before regaining their skills after downing a Snickers.
And with live gaming events filling up stadia around the world and getting huge online viewership, perhaps Kiwi brands should be moving away from the rugby and getting in on the gaming.