Campbell’s Chunky has teamed up with popular streamer Nick “Nickmercs” Kolcheff to reach players as the Super Bowl approaches. In doing so, the brand implicitly recognized the ancestry of individual gaming influencers in the realm of brand partnerships – and the decline of esports sponsorships at the organizational level.
Kolcheff’s partnership with Campbell’s was tied to the Chunky FuelUp tournament, a gaming competition held in the brand’s personalized “Fortnite” space, the Chunky Bowl Stadium. Kolcheff livestreamed the Feb. 8 tournament final on his Twitch channel, with winners getting prizes including NFL tickets and merchandise, in addition to Kolcheff’s broadcast shoutouts. (Representatives for Kolcheff and Campbell declined to elaborate on the structure or value of the deal.)
“Gaming is no longer just a hobby for a bunch of nerds. It’s a big part of popular culture, and for hundreds of millions of gamers, a significant part of their identity,” Kolcheff said. “Smart brands like Chunky understand that, and they’re engaging gamers in new ways.”
While Campbell’s had no intention of activating to replace the Super Bowl, the brand consciously placed the tournament in the playoff season to better reach players and sports fans. Kolcheff’s stream on February 8 maintained an average concurrent viewership of more than 20,000 and a peak of nearly 30,000, according to Flow charts. (For comparison, Stream Charts says Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, currently the most-followed Twitch streamer, reached an average concurrent viewership on the platform of just under 10,000 during his last livestream.)
“The final timing just before the Super Bowl allowed us to capitalize on the excitement leading up to the Super Bowl when football buzz is high, but also gave football fans an exciting event to watch when no NFL games is played,” said a representative of Campbell’s Chunky marketing team, who declined to be identified by name.
Chunky’s partnership with Kolcheff, one of the Twitch most popular streamers, is really smart. Although Kolcheff is a member of the prominent esports organization FaZe-Clan, the brand chose to engage directly with him, rather than partnering with the wider organization. Like brands like BMW divest from esports organizationsmarketers are starting to realize that they can instead get better returns – and better value – through individual streamer partnerships.
“We like to keep our focus broad and keep evaluating, so we’re constantly looking at consumer behavior and constantly talking to different outlets to get a good view of what’s happening in the market,” said Marci Raible, Vice President of Integrated Marketing for Campbell’s Meals & Beverages. “There is no one reason [Campbell’s doesn’t partner with esports orgs] — I think it’s more a matter of prioritization.
One of the reasons cited for Chunky’s decision to partner with Kolcheff on his esports organization was due to the tournament’s status as an individual competition, rather than a team event, according to the rep. marketing Campbell’s Chunky. But with brands growing increasingly skeptical of the ROI of partnering with esports organizations, the decision could simply be the result of good business sense.
In addition to having less red tape than organisation-wide sponsorships, partnering with individual influencers allows brands to reach their fans more directly, so as to align with their specific fanbases. , rather than trying to cater to an organization’s influencer’s disparate audiences. list.
And there are potential brand safety benefits, too: While FaZe Clan has become mired in its fair share of controversies over the past few years, Kolcheff himself has remained largely above the fray during his time with the org.
“If you think about the marketing they’ve done in the past, Chunky as a brand seems really comfortable putting a specific face behind their brand. They’ve always had specific sports people showcasing Chunky Soup,” said Amy Gilbert, social media manager for social media moderation agency The Social Element, “So it’s very comfortable to have a specific person, versus a larger organization, because it fits their type of marketing.”