TNL ESPORTS BRAND TRACKER 027: MOUNTAIN DEW
Brand Feature Writer: James Kozachuk
TNL Take: Mountain Dew is synonymous with gaming. So much so that it can often be found being sold beside various video games at department stores and right next to the Doritos bags.
But then why was Mountain Dew not all-in on eSports?
Well, it might have something to do with how they were a sponsor of the failed Championship Gaming Series (CGS).
But that's starting to change and Mountain Dew is back in a big way.
Taking over sponsorship of a long-standing tournament, three well-known teams, and a few extra activations here and there. We'll tackle each of these initatives one by one.
MOUNTAIN DEW LEAGUE (MDL)
ESEA has been a staple in the CounterStrike community for quite literally decades. The organization provides competitions at multiple levels of play, where placement in each of their leagues allows a team to graduate (or relegate) between their tournaments. The ESEA Proleague is comprised of the best of the best teams, but right below this league is their Premier League, a place for up-and-coming rising star types.
And that's what Mountain Dew just put their name on. The Mountain Dew League (or MDL) is essentially a rebranding of the ESEA Premier League. $125,000 in prizing on the line, multiple seasons, winners seeding directly into the ESL Proleague. There's true storylines being built here: Steve Aoke's eSports team RogueGG won the first season, and Roger Saffold's eSports team Rise Nation is the top seed in the third season.
3 TEAM SPONSORSHIP: TEAM DIGNITAS, SPLYCE AND SK GAMING
In June, Mountain Dew announced their sponsorship of three major teams within eSports: the Team Dignitas (Philadelphia 76'ers) , Splyce (Boston Bruins via Delaware North), and SK Gaming.
SK Gaming is among the longest-standing eSports teams in history. There's no wonder why Mountain Dew wanted to align with the brand.
Both Team Dignitas and Splyce are also aligned with pro sports teams and venues , which is a healthy add to additional partnerships.
[Edit: I'd bet that Mountain Dew will be the official Beverage Sponsor of the upcoming NBA 2K ELEAGUE]
Neither of these teams have Mountain Dew affiliated athletes, unlike Team Liquid/the Wizards/Bradley Beal, Misfits/Miami Heat/Justise Windslow, or Flyquest/Bucks/Giannis Antetokounmpo.
With the amount of resources Mountain Dew has put into their previous NBA player marketing campaigns, I'd love to see something at that scale with their new eSports teams.
OriginPC RIG UP!
In the age when all major agencies are pushing their clients towards branded content like professionally produced Snapchat/Instagram stories, we need to be able to sell that idea within eSports.
How about a "Twitch Show?" Sure. Throw a bunch of influencers in a room for a few weeks, crosspromote your brand with another, and you've got it.
Fans of Dyrus, ZombiUnicorn, OpTicDi3seL, Christian Spicer (Comedian), and Demetrious Johnson (UFC) vote on computer parts to be installed into a computer rig to be given away at the end of the eight-week stream.
It's apparently the formula for over a million views and ten-thousand followers on TwitchTV alone within two months.
To round out Mountain Dew's activities in eSports within the last year we have a competition for Singapore, Malaysia, and India called the "Mountain Dew Arena."
They've also partnered up with another brand who is quickly becoming an endemic brand in the space, Arby's, with an exclusive beverage on tap, "Mountain Dew Game Fuel Citrus Cherry."
Mountain Dew has really picked up the pace within the last year. Their work in North America/Europe is authentic and can have strong stories built around it. With a successful push, Pepsi's multiple brands are leading eSports investment and might open the floodgates for even more brands to enter the space.