Home News Thinkhouse and The Marketing Society Event Outlines Brand Opportunities in Gaming

Thinkhouse and The Marketing Society Event Outlines Brand Opportunities in Gaming

Claire Hyland, Head of the Youth Lab, THINKHOUSE; Twitch Star Gee Nelly; Aoife McGuigan, Head of Marketing, Suntory Beverage and Food Ireland; Ben Finnegan of ESport and Gaming Partnership Manager, Epic Global and Conor Barron, Digital Marketing & CRM Manager An Post.

With over nearly 3bn gamers around the world, a number which is growing all the time, the Marketing Society of Ireland and Thinkhouse hosted an event for marketers this week featuring 26 year old Twitch Star Gee Nelly and a panel of leading marketers with experience in gaming strategies.

Called “Game On” the event also featured Ben Finnegan, ESport and Gaming Partnership Manager, Epic Global; Aoife McGuigan, Head of Marketing, Suntory Beverage & Food Ireland; Conor Barron, digital marketing and CRM manager, An Post and Claire Hyland, head of The Youth Lab at Thinkhouse.

International Twitch Star and Social Media influencer, 26-year-old Georgina “Gee Nelly” Rose Nelly works with world leading brands such as Lacoste, Netflix, Xbox, Facebook and Uber. She’s one of the biggest variety Twitch streamers in the UK with over 180,000 followers, and has a loyal following who label themselves #NellyNation.

Speaking about her own experience of working with brands and pushing the boundaries in innovative content, the international Twitch star and social media influencer “Gee Nelly.”  The 26 year-old works with a number of leading brands like Lacoste, Netflix, Xbox, and Uber and she has a  following on Instagram, TikTok and Twitch.

Building up these audiences she says is a lot about luck, and a lot about relationships and collaboration with others in the industry: “It’s hard to keep up because it’s so competitive. You could take a week off and your numbers will drop in the thousands. It’s really scary. During lockdown I was streaming 12-15 hours a day. When people watch you stream they watch you live – so they feel really connected.”

For brands, she hammers home how streamers are unique to other influencers or celebrity partners – as well as being a brand in her own right, she has a unique relationship with her ‘live’ audience: “I find that companies struggle with the reality of selling a script on live stream. Sometimes they’ll give me a script and the people in my chat find it weird and inauthentic. The thing that really helps is working with us. They have to work with how our audience interacts with us.”

Her advice to brands? “Talk to us. Ask us for suggestions. Often companies come to me and they have everything laid out. We have ideas of what will work on our channels.”

Ben Finnegan, ESport and Gaming Partnership Manager, Epic Global, works with esports teams and brands to engage fan bases and help talent profit from their fame. He stressed the importance of routine and care for esports players who could be gaming for 15 hours a day. Part of his job is to consult with teams and help them perform at optimal levels – from getting dietitians to psychologists on board, it’s an elite job”

“There are insane levels of professionalism being put into Esports teams. These individuals, like any athlete, need to perform at elite levels. For brands right now it’s the time to get in and test and learn. It might feel like a leap of faith, but there are teams for any sized brand now in esports. Timing is everything,” he says.

Meanwhile, Aoife McGuigan, Head of Marketing, Suntory Beverage and Food Ireland is a big advocate for how gaming can deliver on business and brand objectives.

Speaking about Lucozade energy’s legacy in gaming with Lara Croft and the Tomb Raider franchise, she noted how it helped to recruit new users into the brand.

“Lara Croft is a busy lady. She needs some energy. So you can see how there was a fit for Lucozade. Creating big partnerships with the game and Playstation and supporting it with marketing campaigns like ‘Larazade’ helped us to recruit new users into the brand… For our objectives it goes back to new users and relevancy. The partnership is all about making connections.” It’s not about quick wins and short-term tactical efforts either – Lucozade’s been in the gaming ‘game’ since the late 90s:  It’s great for strategic, long-term brand building… Working with communities long term is a commercial challenge too,” she adds.

Conor Barron, Digital Marketing & CRM Manager An Post, saw gaming as a way in to launch the An Post Money Mate, a pocket money app for 7-15 year olds. He says An Post’s strategy was to dip a toe in the water to build awareness of the brand and to initially establish the category. Only after that comes the task of shifting product – it’s brand building first. Similar to sports, Barron looks at gaming through a sponsorship, longer term lens rather than a short-term tactical piece – something that should be considered over years, not months with partners who are willing to work with you.

“The great and terrible thing is that it can be so broad and big. A big part of it is trying to sell the concept to non-gamers internally, because they didn’t necessarily see the value straight away. We also had to think about it from a safety perspective – that was another hurdle. But we worked with our agency and did the research and we were able to turn our potential detractors into our biggest advocates,” he adds.

“The reach of gaming is growing: More and more audiences are turning their attention to the medium, so there are increasingly opportunities for all of us in the world of marketing to reach new segments of consumers,” concludes Claire Hyland, head of The Youth Lab.

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