TNL Esports Brand Tracker 002: Coca-Cola

TNL Take: Coca-Cola continues its tradition of esports brand integration by working again with publishers and theaters to hold viewing parties. They have previously done this for the League of Legends Finals and the Overwatch launch.

This year Coca-Cola partnered with publisher Hi-Rez Studios for the Smite 2018 Championship which occurred this past Sunday.

Coca-Cola Smite Viewing Party (Photo: Regal Cinemas)

Coca-Cola Smite Viewing Party (Photo: Regal Cinemas)

Two interesting points on this partnership. Previously, there had been a minimum number of tickets that needed to be purchased for the esports event to happen. After checking a few of the theaters, this requirement has been removed for the Smite Championship.

Second, the swag that was given out previously were branded cups or thundersticks.

Cups.jpeg

For this partnership, Coca-Cola and Hi-Rez will be giving out thundersticks in addition to exclusive digital items that were given to those that attended Hi-Rez's expo last week. This is super smart to include the same exclusive items for those that weren't able to travel to the expo.

I'd expect going forward, Coca-Cola and their publisher partners will continue to push both physical and digital goods with their their viewing parties.

TNL eSports Brand Tracker 026: Dr. Pepper

TNL ESPORTS BRAND TRACKER 026: DR. PEPPER

Dr. Pepper All Star Tournament (Photo: Dr. Pepper Germany)

Dr. Pepper All Star Tournament (Photo: Dr. Pepper Germany)

Brand Feature Writer: James Kozachuk

The first part of a series looking at recent investment by Beverage Brands within eSports.

 

TNL Take: Dr. Pepper's involvement in eSports is reminiscent of another brand we have highlighted in the TNL Brand Tracker - Bic - when we looked at Gillette.

Both brands dominated eSports advertising in the old days of MLG. With flashy booths, gamers on Dr. Pepper cans, personally sponsored a number of players (Kiwikaki, Pistola, Tsquared, Roy), and even hosted their own co-branded web-series, the "Dr. Pepper Ultimate Gaming House." 

Dr. Pepper was clearly ahead of other brands.

Dr. Pepper POPUP Display at MLG Anaheim 2012 (Photo: Impulse Gamer)

Dr. Pepper POPUP Display at MLG Anaheim 2012 (Photo: Impulse Gamer)

Since then, however, we haven't seen Dr. Pepper do much within the scene.

Tsquared Dr. Pepper on 175 Million Bottles in 2008-2009 (Photo: New York Times)

Tsquared Dr. Pepper on 175 Million Bottles in 2008-2009 (Photo: New York Times)

Except Dr. Pepper has been relentlessly advertising within the German eSports scene.

Since 2012, the brand has run their "Dr. Pepper All Star Tournament" series, and have just recently announced their sponsorship of one of the leading German professional teams "Mouseports."

Dr. Pepper signs agreement with Mousesports in May 2017 (Photo: Mousesports)

Dr. Pepper signs agreement with Mousesports in May 2017 (Photo: Mousesports)

The interesting aspect is that both of these activations have been in partnership with Dr. Pepper Germany. A quick trip to the Dr. Pepper Germany website highlights just how important gaming and eSports is to their marketing efforts:

All, Stuff, Deal Finder, and Gaming (Photo: Dr. Pepper Germany)

All, Stuff, Deal Finder, and Gaming (Photo: Dr. Pepper Germany)

So why is specifically the German distributor of Dr. Pepper so invested in eSports? There's a few potential reasons:

/01 German eSports is incredibly organic and has built itself up slowly, but strongly, into a global powerhouse. Dr. Pepper was pushed very strongly within the United States in the earlier years of eSports and Dr. Pepper has been authentically reaching the German eSports audience during this growth process. With the Mousesports sponsorship they're ready to expand their reach at a more international level.

/02 I've been skirting around Dr. Pepper Germany's "distributor" throughout this article because in the United States Dr. Pepper is distributed through the Dr. Pepper/Snapple Group.

Within Germany however, Dr. Pepper is solely distributed through The Coca-Cola Company. We haven't seen the former activate in eSports for years, but Coca-Cola has been dominating the eSports advertising scene lately.

Coca-Cola Battlefy Partnership in 2016 (Photo: Battlefy)

Coca-Cola Battlefy Partnership in 2016 (Photo: Battlefy)

With the sponsorship of Mousesports, there's a potential for their success internationally.

 

Perhaps this will finally bring Dr. Pepper USA back into eSports? Will be very interesting to see their ROI.

TNL eSports Brand Tracker 044: Coca-Cola and Battlefy

TNL ESPORTS BRAND TRACKER 044: Coca-Cola and Battlefy

TNL eSports Brand Tracker 044: Coca-Cola (Photo: Battlefy)

TNL Take: As 2016 starts to wind down thank you - Prince. Bowie. Brexit... - I was going to add Coca-Cola to my "Where Are These Brands?" List.

Just like life and timing, after I spoke at Pepsi’s eSports and Gaming Summit - the company goes on a tear.

Over the past two months, Coca-Cola has now activated across 4 different eSports/Gaming programs:

Coca-Cola and ESWC in Paris Games Week

Coca-Cola and League of Legends Movie Viewing Parties

and now the #eCopa FIFA 17 Tournament on Battlefy.

But the Battlefy partnership is the most interesting because it focuses on a what I believe will be a key piece that will be needed to build the eSports infrastructure in the future:

Colleges.

The #eCopa tournament not only provides a $10,000 prize pool but more importantly, a Wildcard slot in the EA FIFA 17 Ultimate Regional Final.

This is very smart and Ill show you why.

Here's how the qualifications work:

TNL eSports Brand Tracker 044: Coca-Cola (Photo: Battlefy)

Once a student wins his/her own bracket - he or she gets to represent their school at the Regionals.

Now you can start to tie it all together: eSports, Colleges and Brands.

If you need a quick primer, here's what I wrote about it in May.

The biggest question of any Ad spend across any Medium boils down basically to: 1) How many people saw it 2) How did they engage with it and 3) Do they feel better about the brand/want to buy the product.

I'd like to see the results post campaign but a few of the schools I checked didn't have a very high participation rate after the opening rounds closed.

TNL eSports Brand Tracker 44: Coca-Cola (Photo: Battlefy)

To be clear, I'm not saying this is a failure by any means - I'm saying the exact opposite.

I would guess that limited marketing was done at schools to educate the students about this opportunity. A minimal spend would have had a huge increase in ROI.

So going back to the success metrics, I hope it's not a one-and-done because it's a big open space.

It's still very early and I'm happy to see Coca-Cola continue its investment into eSports especially in the Collegiate space.

PS Although technically not eSports, Coca-Cola has also partnered with 7-11 with another FIFA 17 promotion for the usual "Buy Something, Get Something" programs that work extremely well.

Coca-Cola and EA Sports FIFA 17 Promotion (Photo: Coca-Cola)

TNL eSports Brand Tracker 041: Coca-Cola and League of Legends

TNL ESPORTS BRAND TRACKER 041: Coca-Cola

TNL eSports Brand Tracker 041: Coca-Cola (Photo: Coca-Cola)

TNL eSports Brand Tracker 041: Coca-Cola (Photo: Coca-Cola)

TNL Take: After Coca-Cola’s most recent partnership with ESWC in France - which was just bought - their next Sponsorship is back with one of their original eSports partners, Riot and League of Legends.

Somewhat similar to Coca-Cola’s deal with Blizzard for the Overwatch launch, fans will be able to watch the 2016 League of Legends Finals in theaters nationwide.

While Overwatch’s content wasn’t exclusive, fans will be able to watch the Finals with their community and get some free Coke swag as well.

Coca-Cola League Of Legend Cups (Photo: Coca-Cola)

The twist in this partnership is that theaters won’t actually hold the 2016 League of Legends viewing event unless a minimum number of tickets are sold.

This allows individual theaters to essentially decide if eSports or a regular viewing would make them more revenue. 

Coca-Cola 2016 League Of Legends Finals Viewing Party (Photo: Tugg)

I checked a few of the Theaters in the NYC area and most of them have between 75-125 tickets still remaining.

My guess is that 200 tickets sold is the baseline.

Hopefully we will get some numbers on the promotion post launch but great to see Coca-Cola activate in another eSports title.